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Colloidal Silver and Biological (Germ) Warfare

 Germ Warfare  Comments Off on Colloidal Silver and Biological (Germ) Warfare
Jun 302016

Our country recently passed the 9th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks of 2001, and the subsequent terrorist anthrax mailings that resulted in the deaths of five Americans and the infection of 17 others.

And while we all might rightfully wish to forget those horrific events except for a passing prayer for the victims and their families — and go on about our business as if nothing had ever happened

a prudent person would also quietly make sure he (or she) has taken at least a few protective precautions for their family, in case something like this ever happens again.

Crazy World

After all, you dont need me to tell you that today we live in a crazy, volatile and sometimes very scary world.

Only a few short days ago, half the Arab world erupted into fits of violent anger when a controversial preacher from Florida threatened to burn a copy of the Koran in protest of the building of the proposed Cordoba Mosque near Ground Zero 9-11 attacks.

We have homegrown terrorists, too. And you just never know when some of our countrys older enemies like Russia or China, or that lunatic midget running North Korea might decide the time is ripe again to try to bring America to her knees.

The bottom line is that today, I dont think anyone in the U.S. lives in an it cant happen here fantasy world any longer. We all know it can happen here. And that it can take very little to set it off.

Therefore, after reflecting on these facts, I thought it might be high-time to revisit the idea of using colloidal silver as a means of protecting ourselves and our family members during a terrorist germ warfare attack.

A Quick Look at the Idea of Using Colloidal Silver

Against Germ Warfare Pathogens!

Will colloidal silver really work against germ warfare (i.e., biological warfare) agents like anthrax?

The truth of the matter is that while germ warfare experts might know the answer to that question, theyre not telling.

After all, our country also has a huge arsenal of germ warfare agents. And as you can probably imagine, we wouldnt necessarily want our enemies to know the antidote if one existed particularly if it was as easy to make and distribute as colloidal silver.

Nevertheless, we do have some strong indications that colloidal silver may very well be a valid first-line-of-defense against germ warfare pathogens.

So lets take a quick look at a little bit of history, and some of the known facts about colloidal silver, and see if we can make a reasonable assumption as to whether or not colloidal silver might serve as a potent natural remedy against germ warfare agents.

Colloidal Silver and the Soviet Military

Author Mark Aarons discusses the idea of colloidal silvers potential effectiveness against germ warfare pathogens in his 1994 book, The Secret War Against the Jews:

There is little defense against [a biological germ warfare] attack, and what few antidotes exist are withheld from the public as military secrets.

One of the best examples of this is Movidyn, a substance that the Soviets discovered in their satellite state of Czechoslovakia way back in the 1950s.

Movidyn is a form of colloidal silver, odorless, tasteless, and cheaper to produce than chlorine disinfectants. One part per billion of powdered Movidyn in water has a germicidal effect.

In a study of infected wells, it completely destroyed typhus, malaria, cholera, and amoebic dysentery. Drinking containers washed in Movidyn retained their germ-fighting abilities for several weeks.

Movidyn seems to be a cost-effective prophylactic for most of the water-borne diseases that infect the Third World.

To the astonishment of the Soviet military, Movidyn also disinfected every germ warfare bacteria in the Soviet arsenal, even their newest designer poisons.

In other words, Movidyn was too good.

The Czech factory was disassembled and carted back to the Soviet Union. To this day, the Movidyn formula seems to have been suppressed from the world.

— Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews, 1994, pages 293-294

Microbiologist Larry Wayne Harris

On Colloidal Silver and Germ Warfare

In the most recently revised edition of my 547-page book, The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual, I also discuss the very real possibility that colloidal silver will turn out to be a valid defense against germ warfare agents during a terrorist biological attack

at least, for those who are prepared in advance and have plenty of colloidal silver stocked up, or who are foresighted enough to own the means of colloidal silver production so they can make their own colloidal silver whenever needed.

Heres what I wrote:

When former CIA microbiologist Larry Wayne Harris was asked on national television whether there were any natural substances that could protect the population against anthrax and other germ warfare agents, he responded:

The only natural substance I know of that is effective against these microbes is colloidal silver. I tested that myself when I was with the CIA, and found it effective against both anthrax and the bubonic plague pathogens.

After leaving the CIA, microbiologist Larry Harris is said to have re-tested colloidal silver against anthrax in his private laboratory in1997, and again found it to be highly effective.

According to Harris confidant Mike Seiler:

Harris definitely confirmed colloidal silver kills the anthrax pathogen. He used the minimum inhibitory test, in which he took ten vials of anthrax and put correspondingly higher concentrations of colloidal silver in each vial until he determined which concentration gives an effective kill rate. Harris discovered the kill rate was at 100 parts per billion an amazingly small amount of colloidal silver.

It is also important to note that colloidal silver was one of the few substances on earth that was successfully used against anthrax and other plague-like pathogens in the early 1900s prior to the advent of modern-day prescription antibiotic drugs, as verified by the 1919 book Colloids in Biology and Medicine by H. Beckhold, pages 364-376.

In fact, according to researcher James South, M.A., as early as 1887 a number of researchers had discovered that silver both in liquid solution and as an airborne aerosol was toxic to deadly anthrax spores. [Ref: N. Grier, Silver and Its Compounds in Disinfection, Sterilization and Preservation, S. Block, ed., Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1983, pages 380-428; H. Bechold, Colloids in Biology and Medicine, N.Y.,: D. Van Nostrand, 1919, pages 364-376; Anti-Aging Bulletin, International Antiaging Systems, Vol. 4, Issue 3. Apr/May, 1999, Hi Yo Silver, Away! by James South, M.A.]

Considering that anthrax is said to be the all-time favorite biological warfare agent of Islamic terrorists and is one of the infectious biological agents intelligence experts claim terrorist cell teams are known to be in possession of it would seem to be a prudent precaution indeed to have the ability to make your own therapeutic-quality colloidal silver at home in order to help protect yourself and your family in the event of a terrorist biological attack on U.S. cities.

— from The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual, 2009, pages 313-314

The above chapter goes on to discuss theoretical dosage levels of colloidal silver for use against germ warfare pathogens.

Later in the above chapter, I also quote microbiologist Larry Wayne Harris as saying that in order for colloidal silver to be effective during a germ warfare attack, youll need to have certain levels of colloidal silver already built up in your bloodstream, cells and tissues, well before a terror attack occurs. Harris stated:

In the event of outbreaks of biological plagues, those who have already been taking sufficient levels of colloidal silver will have an automatic resistance in their bodies

If, however, a person has not been taking colloidal silver for 30 to 50 days prior to exposure to a plague, silver will have little effect. This is because invading bacteria can kill within several days, while it takes weeks for colloidal silver to be spread through your entire bodys millions of cells.

I don’t know about you. But for me, the idea that colloidal silver would only work during a germ warfare attack if you’ve already been using it daily for one to two months before being exposed to germ warfare agents, is not a very appealing one.

After all, many people who are experienced in colloidal silver usage only use it periodically — for example, if they feel a cold coming on, or whenever theyve actually come down with an infection and they want to deal with it naturally.

Is There Some Other Way To Get

Colloidal Silver Into the Body, Quickly and Effectively?

Fortunately, there is a way to get colloidal silver into the bloodstream and the bodys cells and tissues quickly and easily.

And we have the prestigious Health Sciences Institute (HSI) to thank for bringing this to our attention.

You see, HSI addressed this very topic in an e-alert to their members, back in October 2001, shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax attacks on our nation.

As the HSI pointed out at the time, one of their well-known health symposium panelists, Dr. Marcial-Vega, had discovered while dealing with pneumonia patients the fact that colloidal silver can be quickly and easily carried into the human blood stream and from there into the bodys cells and tissues, simply by nebulizing it.

Nebulizing is a process by which colloidal silver is run through a small medical device called a nebulizer (inexpensively available on e-Bay) which turns the colloidal silver solution into a fine mist. This fine mist can easily be breathed into the lungs as its produced by the machine. And from the lungs the body can efficiently and effectively distribute the colloidal silver straight into the blood stream, cells and tissues.

Heres what the Health Sciences Institute told their members:

Based on his experience treating other types of bacterial lung infections, Dr. Marcial-Vega believes he has discovered a way to prevent anthrax from developing even if you’ve already been exposed.

He’s currently talking with government health authorities about testing his hypothesis on live anthrax spores, but asked us bring this information directly to you now.

Just in his last decade of medical practice, Dr. Marcial-Vega has treated hundreds of people with a variety of viral, fungal, and bacterial pneumonias. And of all the available treatments, he has seen the greatest success with nebulizer treatments using a colloidal silver preparation.

Silver has long been known for its anti-bacterial properties, and the nebulizer allows the mineral to reach the lungs and kill harmful bacteria. Now, in the face of the anthrax threat, he believes it can do the same thing with anthrax spores.

‘We are constantly filtering all kinds of bacteria through our lungs,’ explained Dr. Marcial-Vega. Normally, a healthy body is able to kill off any dangerous bacteria on its own. But in the case of illness, like pneumonia, or an especially lethal bacteria like anthrax, the body may need some extra help.

For anthrax prevention, he recommends a daily nebulizer treatment with 4 cc’s of colloidal silver. By following this protocol, Dr. Marcial-Vega says your body can likely kill off the anthrax spores before you even know you were exposed. Colloidal silver may even be useful to treat cutaneous anthrax with the preparation being directly applied to the affected skin.

Dr. Marcial-Vega says there are no concerns about using this treatment because colloidal silver has no toxicity and no side effects. He has used the colloidal silver nebulizer treatments on infants, the elderly, and AIDS patients with pneumonia and has seen great results. All have responded quickly to the treatment even when no other approach seemed to help, and no one reported any adverse reactions.

Nebulizers are widely used to treat asthma, and are readily available at drug stores nationwide. The cost generally runs between $50 and $120 for the machine. Each member of the family should have their own mask, and both adult and pediatric sizes are available for a few dollars each. But the entire family can share the nebulizer machine and the tubing.”

If youre interested, you can read a more recent article here on using what I call a poor mans nebulizer. This is simply an inexpensive cool mist vaporizer from Wal-Mart or any other drug store. These inexpensive little devices do pretty much exactly what a medical nebulizer would do as long as you’re using full-strength colloidal silver in it.

No Clinical Evidence

The bottom line is that theres no real clinical evidence for colloidal silvers potential effectiveness in humans against germ warfare agents such as anthrax and others.

Thats chiefly because no one is going to allow themselves to be infected with such deadly biological agents in order to test the colloidal silver hypothesis.

Even if they conducted animal tests to see if colloidal silver would be effective against germ warfare agents, its likely the results would be kept secret due to national security. Again, we wouldnt announce to our enemies the antidote to one of the most potent (albeit non-humanitarian) weapons in our own weapons of mass destruction arsenal.

Nevertheless, theres plenty of historical and circumstantial evidence to indicate that colloidal silver may very well be a first-line-of-defense remedy against germ warfare pathogens.

And for that reason alone its worth owning a high-quality colloidal silver generator so you can make all of the colloidal silver you could ever need, quickly and easily, any time you need it, in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Helpful Links:

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Meet Steve Barwick

— Michael Cutler, M.D., Editor, Easy Health Options

— Bob Livingston, The Bob Livingston Letter

— Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby, M.D., MBChB, PhD, author Cancer Research Secrets, Complete Parasites Handbook, and Survive Without Antibiotics

— Dr. Kathleen Olsson Nelson, RN, BA, MA, PhD, PhD, FSNPM, FCH., Clinical Psychologist and Nutritional Consultant

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Colloidal Silver and Biological (Germ) Warfare

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Offshore Banking for those wishing to reduce taxes …

 Offshore Banking  Comments Off on Offshore Banking for those wishing to reduce taxes …
Jun 302016

Belize is a leading Caribbean offshore banking jurisdiction located in northern Central America. Many visitors to this country are intrigued about offshore banking. The growth in international travel, and the increasing use of the Internet to make a living or help manage businesses from afar, has led to the growing use of offshore banking and offshore trusts to help manage income, money and assets. Many modern-day entrepreneurs and others have made the decision to relocate or diversify their financial affairs and open offshore accounts.

Belize one dollar coins

As a premier offshore banking center, the country offers unique advantages. You can fly here (under two hours from the U.S.A.) or actually drive up from North America through Mexico about 36 hours from Houston. This is a mainland country with hundreds of offshore islands. Of course you can also sail on down on your catamaran or yacht. After all the country is also a highly regarded offshore Merchant Marine Registry as well and serves as a marine registry for several private and publicly traded shipping companies around the world.

The year 2014 marks the 24nd anniversary of the birth of Belizes international financial services industry. Starting from scratch in 1990, this offshore banking center has built up a thriving financial services business. It offers a variety of offshore structures geared to the needs of international investors. These include international business companies, international trusts, protected cell companies, limited liability partnerships, mutual funds, captive and other forms of insurance, international foundations, Forex and securities trading, open ships registry, and a host of other related services.

Noted American writer Bruce Barcott describes Belize thus: Belize is a tiny nation tucked between Guatemala, Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. It is firmly attached to Central America but considers itself a Caribbean island. For more than a hundred years Belize was known as British Honduras, one of the most remote outposts of the British Empire, which explains why it is the only Latin American nation to embrace English as its official language. Belize goes unnoticed by the rest of the world, and over the years the country has parlayed its obscurity into an attractive asset. For those shipwrecked on the shoals of life, Belize offers a new beginning.

Here we offer our popular Offshore Banking FAQ. Based on on our laws; many aspects cover other offshore jurisdictions.

It is simply banking in a jurisdiction other than the one in which you live or have citizenship or residency.

Offshore Banking may have tax benefits. For example earned interest on offshore accounts and investments is paid without the deduction of tax. You may also be able to reduce your tax liability in your home country by transferring savings and investments to an offshore bank account. Added benefits include high levels of confidentiality, security and convenience, as well as global access. Offshore banks offer ways to legally move your 401K account to Belize to help finance your retirement income or build the ultimate retirement home. Check out our exclusive Belize Retirement Book.

No. You never actually have to visit your offshore bank. You can simply bank from wherever in the world you live, via a secure Internet connection, secure e-mail, post or telephone (either through a touch tone phone or by contacting your banking representative or registered agent). You can also use an ATM card provided by the offshore bank.

There are several companies that specialize in setting up offshore bank accounts. We suggest the Belize Bank International located in Belize and the Turk and Caicos Islands (known as the British Caribbean Bank). You may also consider law firms and Belize lawyers that act as Registered Agents for offshore banks.

We strongly recommend due diligence by personally visiting the bank or law firm and making your own assessment as to the pros and cons of a service provider. In Belize we can suggest the following lawyers: Rodwell Williams or Emil Arquelles. Kindly mention if you decide to contact these attorneys. The first step to an offshore account is to establish an International Business Company, also known as an IBC.

Yes, absolutely legal. Offshore banking has been routinely and legally used for many years by individuals, companies big and small and organizations worldwide. Once the exclusive purview of high net worth individuals, offshore banking has come of age and is accessible to most anyone. Because many countries encourage international trade and enterprise, there are usually only limited restrictions on residents doing business or having bank accounts in other countries. However, reporting requirements on these accounts differ from country to country.

Some countries require residents to declare their income on a worldwide basis and tax is payable on all your income. In certain circumstances the income of an entity which you control may also be taxable. For this reason, most countries have no restrictions on where your business interests, investments or bank accounts may be located. It is your responsibility to report income to your tax authority. Belize has no such requirement and best of all no Capital Gains Tax. U.S. News and World Reports says Belize is one of the Top Ten Retirement Destinations In The World.

There are many other reasons to bank offshore apart from minimizing your tax liability. Other reasons include asset protection, estate planning, confidentiality, better returns and the ability to advance active business interests overseas from a zero tax jurisdiction with near hermetic confidentiality.

Offshore jurisdictions offer extraordinary levels of confidentiality but they cannot offer absolute secrecy. All financial institutions have a legal obligation to report suspicions of serious criminal conduct. Foreign authorities can seek information through the legal system, where there are well-founded suspicions of serious crime. A serious crime is defined as anything which is a crime in the offshore jurisdictions and would warrant a prison sentence of at least twelve months. Near absolute anonymity and confidentiality are achievable via a combination of various offshore vehicles, including International Business Companies (IBCs) and Offshore Trusts. Otherwise, all personal data is subject to modern data protection legislation, and there are severe civil and criminal penalties for breach of confidentiality and unauthorized disclosure of client information.

Yes. You get an internationally accepted debit or credit card. And you can access cash from ATMs worldwide. Debit and credit card cards can be issued in your name, or the name of your offshore company or trust. The latter arrangement can be of particular personal safety benefit when traveling in high-risk areas such as the Middle East, Africa, the Arab world or other hot spots where carrying credit or debit cards issued in western countries can be a liability.

As of June 2015 the offshore banking industry is undergoing a transformation. Western countries have been exerting pressure on Belize to enact regulations in an attempt to bring more transparency to the industry. In a statement to the media on June 23, Prime Minister Dean Barrow declared that The international community is determined and has been determined for a while to close down our offshore sector. This is just a continuation of the kind of actions they have been taking over a period of time now. Stretching back to try to achieve their objective; what I saw, somebody made the point that their own offshore jurisdiction I love they said nothing about them so that is what is involved there. I have no doubt that sooner or later they will succeed. This is the empire striking back but I think our offshore people have been preparing themselves for a while now because it has been like I said a constant onslaught. I am sorry to say that I wouldnt be surprised that if in the end they dont achieve their objective. Several banks in Belize are currently moving away from consumer type offshore account activities, and adopting a more offshore investment banking focus.

Article Updated 29 June 2015

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Offshore Banking for those wishing to reduce taxes …

Libertarianism Against the Welfare State: A Refresher …

 Misc  Comments Off on Libertarianism Against the Welfare State: A Refresher …
Jun 302016

I’m a hard-core libertarian who defines libertarianism broadly. If you think voluntarism is seriously underrated and government is seriously overrated, you’re a libertarian in my book. I also strive to treat others with common decency regardless of their political views. That includes libertarian apostates. People sometimes cease to be libertarians even on my broad definition – and when that happens, the proper reaction is not anger and ostracism, but friendliness and curiosity.

In recent years, I’ve heard many libertarians expressing new-found appreciation for the welfare state. This is most pronounced at the Niskanen Center, but that’s only part of a broader trend. If the revisionist position were a clear-cut, “Sure, most of the welfare state is terrible, but the rest of okay. We should cut social spending by 80%, not 100%,” their libertarian credentials would not be at issue.

When libertarians start describing Danish “flexicurity” with deep admiration, however, I don’t just doubt their libertarian commitment. More importantly, I wonder why they changed their minds. And to be honest, the more I listen to them, the more I wonder. The most enlightening path, I think, is to restate what I see as the standard libertarian case against the welfare state, and find out exactly where they demur. Here goes.

Soft-Core Case

1. Universal social programs that “help everyone” are folly. Regardless of your political philosophy, taxing everyone to help everyone makes no sense.

2. In the U.S. (along with virtually every other country), most government social spending is devoted to these indefensible universal programs – Social Security, Medicare, and K-12 public education, for starters.

3. Social programs – universal or means-tested – give people perverse incentives, discouraging work, planning, and self-insurance. The programs give recipients very bad incentives; the taxes required to fund the programs give everyone moderately bad incentives. The more “generous” the programs, the worse the collateral damage. As a result, even programs carefully targeted to help the truly poor often fail a cost-benefit test. And while libertarians need not favor every government act that passes the cost-benefit test, they should at least oppose every government act that fails it.

4. “Helping people” sounds good; complaining about “perverse incentives” sounds bad. Since humans focus on how policies sound, rather than what they actually achieve, governments have a built-in tendency to adopt and preserve social programs that fail a cost-benefit test. Upshot: We should view even seemingly promising social programs with a skeptical eye.

Medium-Core Case

5. There is a plausible moral case for social programs that help people who are absolutely poor through no fault of their own. Otherwise, the case falters.

6. “Absolutely poor.” When Jean Valjean steals a loaf of bread to save his sister’s son, he has a credible excuse. By extension, so does a government program to tax strangers to feed Valjean’s nephew. If Valjean steals a smartphone to amuse his sister’s son, though, his excuse falls flat – and so does a government program designed to do the same.

7. “No fault of their own.” Why you’re poor matters. Starving because you’re born blind is morally problematic. Starving because you drink yourself into a stupor every day is far less so. Indeed, you might call it just desserts.

8. Existing means-tested programs generally run afoul of one or both conditions. Even if the welfare state did not exist, few people in First World countries would be absolutely poor. And most poor people engage in a lot of irresponsible behavior. Check out any ethnography of poverty.

9. First World welfare states provide a popular rationale for restricting immigration from countries where absolute poverty is rampant: “They’re just coming to sponge off of us.” Given the rarity of absolute poverty in the First World and the massive labor market benefits of migration from the Third World to the First, it is therefore likely that existing welfare states make global absolute poverty worse.

Hard-Core Case

10. Ambiguity about what constitutes “absolute poverty” and “irresponsible behavior” should be resolved in favor of taxpayers, not recipients. Coercion is not acceptable when justification is debatable.

11. If private charity can provide for people in absolute poverty through no fault of their own, there is no good reason for government to use tax dollars to do so. The best way to measure the adequacy of private charity is to put it to the test by abolishing existing social programs.

12. Consider the best-case scenario for forced charity. Someone is absolutely poor through no fault of his own, and there are no disincentive effects of transfers or taxes. Even here, the moral case for forced charity is much less plausible than it looks. Think of the Good Samaritan. Did he do a noble deed – or merely fulfill his minimal obligation? Patriotic brainwashing notwithstanding, our “fellow citizens” are strangers – and the moral intuition that helping strangers is supererogatory is hard to escape. And even if you think the opposite, can you honestly deny that it’s debatable? If so, how can you in good conscience coerce dissenters?

Personally, I embrace all twelve theses. But even the Soft-Core Case implies radical opposition to the welfare state as it currently exists. My questions for lapsed critics of the welfare state: Precisely which theses do you reject – and what’s the largest welfare state consistent with the theses you accept?

Go here to read the rest:
Libertarianism Against the Welfare State: A Refresher …

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Seychelles – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Seychelles  Comments Off on Seychelles – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 282016

Seychelles is to the northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600km (994mi) east of Kenya. The number of islands in the archipelago is often given as 115 but the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles lists 155.

According to the president of Nauru, the Seychelles has been ranked the ninth most endangered nation due to flooding from climate change.[4]

Some of the cities in Seychelles include: Anse Boileau, Takamaka and Cote DOr.

Seychelles is divided into twenty-five administrative regions. Eight of the districts make up the capital of Seychelles. They are called Greater Victoria. Another 14 districts are considered the rural part of the main island of Mah. There are two districts on Praslin and one on La Digue which also include satellite islands. The rest of the Outer Islands are not considered part of any district.

During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla, and copra were the main exports. In the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector. In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a serious industry.

Like many fragile island ecosystems, the Seychelles had loss of biodiversity during early human history. This included the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands. There was also the extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles Parakeet, the Seychelles Black Terrapin and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii. This was partly due to a shorter period of human occupation being only since 1770. The Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna. The rare Seychelles Black Parrot, the national bird of the country, is now protected.

The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species. There are a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well-known is the Coco de Mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahe. This strange and ancient plant is in a genus of its own (Medusagynaceae). Other unique plant species include the Wright’s Gardenia Rothmannia annae found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.

The freshwater crab genus Seychellum is endemic to the granitic Seychelles. There are a further 26 species of crabs and 5 species of hermit crabs that live on the islands.[5]

The Aldabra Giant Tortoise now lives on many of the islands of the Seychelles. The Aldabra population is the largest in the world. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds.

There are several unique varieties of orchids on the Islands.

The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded. Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery.

The main natural resources of the Seychelles are fish, copra, cinnamon, coconuts, salt and iron.

The rest is here:

Seychelles – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 2:53 am  Tagged with:

Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

 Offshore  Comments Off on Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times
Jun 282016

Latest Articles

The all-stock deal, worth $13 billion, would combine the American and French companies, which have been hit hard by the global plunge in energy prices.


Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find.


The regulations are aimed at preventing the kind of failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and come amid a proposal for Arctic drilling.


The Obama administration has hopes that gas export efforts will help build peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.


The decision to postpone the plan, called Browse, comes as prices for the fuel in Asia have fallen steeply.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited the militarys reservations about drilling near some of its largest installations, plunging oil prices and widespread local concerns.


The Obama administration yielded to opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashed the hopes of many of those states leaders.


The realization is adding momentum to efforts to convert some of the platforms into artificial reefs once they are decommissioned.


Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.


Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.


Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.


The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.


Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.


The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.


The Mexican government put five oil production blocks up for auction on Wednesday and awarded three, a much more successful outcome than the first such auction in July.


The all-stock deal, worth $13 billion, would combine the American and French companies, which have been hit hard by the global plunge in energy prices.


Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find.


The regulations are aimed at preventing the kind of failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and come amid a proposal for Arctic drilling.


The Obama administration has hopes that gas export efforts will help build peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.


The decision to postpone the plan, called Browse, comes as prices for the fuel in Asia have fallen steeply.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited the militarys reservations about drilling near some of its largest installations, plunging oil prices and widespread local concerns.


The Obama administration yielded to opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashed the hopes of many of those states leaders.


The realization is adding momentum to efforts to convert some of the platforms into artificial reefs once they are decommissioned.


Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.


Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.


Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.


The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.


Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.


The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.


The Mexican government put five oil production blocks up for auction on Wednesday and awarded three, a much more successful outcome than the first such auction in July.


More here:

Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

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Jun 282016

Ephemerisle, 2009. Photo by Liz Henry via flickr.

To get to Ephemerisle, the floating festival of radical self-reliance, I left San Francisco in a rental car and drove east through Oakland, along the California Delta Highway, and onto Route 4. I passed windmill farms, trailer parks, and fields of produce dotted with multicolored Porta Potties. I took an accidental detour around Stockton, a municipality that would soon declare bankruptcy, citing generous public pensions as a main reason for its economic collapse. After rumbling along the gravely path, I reached the edge of the SacramentoSan Joaquin River Delta. The delta is one of the most dredged, dammed, and government subsidized bodies of water in the region. Its estimated that it provides two-thirds of Californians with their water supply.

At the marina closest to the festival, I spotted a group of Ephemerislers in swimsuits crammed into a dinghy. I approached them, but they were uninterested in small talk: their engine had run out of gas, and the marina was all out, too. They could give me a ride, they said, if I tracked down fuel. I contemplated the sad marina, its shabby rental boats, the murky water. Almost an hour had passed when the festivals ferry service showed up. At around noon, six of us took off in a small motorboat, speeding past Venice Island, a private sliver of land where Barron Hilton, heir to the Hilton hotel fortune, hunts ducks and puts on an annual July 4th firework display. Five minutes later, Ephemerisle came into sight, bobbing gently in an area called the Mandeville Tip.

It looked, at first, like a shapeless pile of floating junk, but as the boat drew closer, a sense of order emerged. The island was made up of two rows of houseboats, anchored about a hundred feet apart, with a smaller cluster of boats and yachts set off to the west. The boats had been bound together with planks, barrels, cleats, and ropes, assembled ad-hoc by someone with at least a rudimentary understanding of knots and anchors. Residents decorated their decks with banners and flags and tied kayaks and inflatable toys off the sides, giving the overall landscape the cephalopodan quality of raver pants. Dirty socks and plastic dishes and iPads and iPhones littered the decks. An enormous sound system blasted dance music, it turned out, at all hours of the day.

Each of the two-dozen boats at the party had a nameBayesian Conspiracy, Snuggly Nemo, Magic Carpet, Mini-ocracyand each name a personality to match, conveyed by the resident boaters choice of drug, beverage, or degree of exhibitionism. When I arrived, the Ephemerislers were partying in various stages of undress. They had been encouraged to make the space their own, to mind their own business, and to do as they pleased. This was, after all, a celebration of the laissez-faire lifean escape from the oppressive, rule-bound grind of dry land. In this suspended, provisional unreality, everybody was a planner, an economist, a designer, a king. Attendees were ready for everything the elements had in store, but knew escape was just a few clicks away, should the experiment go terribly wrong.

It is apparently a coincidence that Ephemerisles location shared a name with the 16th-century proto-libertarian philosopher Bernard de Mandeville. Mandeville Tip is a breezy point in the middle of the Delta, flanked by levees and a short boat ride away from a former county park. Its named after a 19th-century Californian politician, J. W. Mandeville, but the more well-known Mandeville, of the Fable of the Bees, had much in common with Ephemerisles freewheeling spirit. The Fables most famous lines, cited by Keynes, come from Mandevilles poem entitled The Grumbling Hive: or, Knaves turnd Honest, which argues that allowing private vices makes for good public policy. Bare Virtue cant make Nations live / In Splendor; they, that would revive / A Golden Age, must be as free / For Acorns, as for Honesty, concludes Mandeville, after bemoaning the unhappiness and lack of prosperity the bees experience while living in a more wholesome, regulated hive. Ephemerisle was its own little beehive of decadence, a floating pillow fort saturated in sex and soft drugs. It billed itself as a gathering of people interested in the possibility of permanent experimental ocean communities, but felt more like Burning Man, if Burners frolicked in the tears of Ludwig Von Mises.

Ephemerisle got its libertarian streak from its founders: the event was originally conceived of by the Seasteading Institute, a San Francisco nonprofit that supports the creation of thousands of floating city-states in international waters. After overseeing the first Ephemerisle in 2009, the Institute handed over responsibility for the festival to the community in 2010it turns out a raucous floating party costs too much for a tiny think tank to insureand last year, the group consisted of 300 amateur boaters, intoxicated partiers, and a committed clan of Seasteaders.

Seasteaders made up about a quarter of Ephemerisles attendees. If they took the operation somewhat more seriously than the young Californians who came just to party and build things, its because they dream of a day when theyll have their pick of floating city-states to live on, work from, and eventually abandon in favor of a different platform when they get bored. Borrowing from the lexicon of evolution, the Seasteaders say that a Cambrian explosion of these new countries will bring about greater freedom of choice for individuals, stimulate competition between existing governments, and provide blank nation-slates for experiments in governance. Ephemerisle is supposed to distill the ambitious project into a weekend that would give people the direct experience of political autonomy. It combines its political ambitions with appeals to back-to-the-land survivalism, off-the-grid drug use, and a vague nostalgia for water parks. There are no tickets, no central organizers, no rules, no rangers to keep you safe, reads the Ephemerisle mission statement. Its a new adventure into an alien environment, with discoveries, adventures, and mishaps along the way.

I was dropped off on the North neighborhoodthe most raucous of the threewhich, in addition to a row of houseboats, had a big platform serving as a communal front yard. One of the boats had pirated a radio station, Radio FMerisle. Other boats had tents pitched on their roofs to accommodate boatless hangers-on. It was a vision straight out of Neal Stephensons cult sci-fi novel Snow Crash (1992), which turned out to be one of the most influential texts in the Seasteading communitybeloved for its dystopian portrayals of life in a virtual, post-statist society. Small pleasure craft, sampans, junk, dhows, dinghies, life rafts, houseboats, makeshift structures built on air-filled oil drums and slabs of styrofoam, wrote Stephenson two decades ago, describing an itinerant flotilla full of refugees called The Raft. A good fifty percent of it isnt real boat material at all, just a garble of ropes, cables, planks, nets, and other debris tied together on top of whatever kind of flotsam was handy.

As I hopped from boat to boat and onto the platform, I noticed many of the men in attendance had sparkly turquoise polish on their grubby toenails. On one of the houseboats, a body-painting session was in full swing, but the hot California sun quickly reduced the painted swirls to an eczemic crust. Within minutes, I overheard an endless stream of conversations about start-ups, incubators, hackerspaces and apps. Naked bodies ambled by. While looking for a bathroom, I walked in on a couple having sex in a houseboats aft cabin.

I had arranged via Facebook and Paypal to sleep in a houseboat in the South neighborhood of the island, not realizing the logistical difficulties involved: unless a motorboat happened to be passing by, the options for moving from one platform to another were limited to kayaking or pulling oneself across with a rope while balancing on wooden planks. The rope looked precarious, so I found a soggy kayak and paddled over three days worth of luggage, food, and supplies. The South looked a lot like the North, only less busy. Its smaller shared platform housed the Cuddle Gallery, a large white tent adorned with a cloth jellyfish where boatless residents could nap and work by day, and sleep, or cuddle, at night.

My cabin mates were already in the South when I arrived. Cyprien Noel, a soft-spoken French libertarian and an avid advocate for the Seasteading project, had rented the houseboat from the marina with his sister and brother-in-law, who were visiting him in the Bay Area from France. Hed also invited two Chinese engineers from San Jose and a woman in her thirties who had brought with her an espresso machine, a waffle iron, and a milk frother that looked like it hadnt been cleaned in weeks. They planned to stay afloat for four nights and four days.

I asked Cyprien how hed ended up so far from home. He explained, in French, that after trying unsuccessfully to obtain an American visa to work as an entrepreneur, hed won the Green Card lottery and immigrated to the United States about four years ago. He wanted to leave France in part to escape an overbearing state that he found closed and afraid, and today sees Seasteading as a potential solution to the lack of competition in government. Theres no real innovation or genuinely free market in France. I was tired of it, he said, adding, Libertarians in the US dont know how good they have it.

The Seasteading Institute was founded in 2008 by PayPal founder Peter Thiel and Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer best known for being Milton Friedmans grandson. Although both men are outspoken libertarians, the nonprofit institute insists that it isnt politically motivated. It claims to want more space for political experimentationand the beauty of aquatic governance experiments is that theyre free to fail on their own merits. If we can solve the engineering challenges of Seasteading, two-thirds of the Earths surface becomes open for these political start-ups, explains Friedman, a self-styled cult leader whos known to the community as just Patri. The Seasteaders have chosen as their motto Let a Thousand Nations Blooman apparent spin on Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, a Maoist policy which encouraged dissidents to speak out and then used their views as a pretext to jail them.

The mantra was repeated many times during the Seasteading Institutes third annual conference, which took place one week before Ephemerisle in the basement of the San Francisco Grand Meridien Hotel. The Institute hasnt been officially affiliated with Ephemerisle since 2009, but a number of attendees, many of them Seasteading Institute staffers, had plans to go to the festival and encouraged me to come party with them. A few older donors to the Seasteading cause planned to make appearances at Ephemerisle, expecting to look out of place in the festivals trippy, offbeat surroundings. There was a rumor that Peter Thiel would go, too, but no one could confirm it.

The crowd at the conference was disproportionately white, male (I counted maybe ten women in the room) and wealthy (tickets started at $715), and the vast majority of attendees needed no prompting to profess their tax-hating libertarian views just minutes into a conversation. The junket also brought together a number of academics, who, I later learned, had been courted by the Seasteading Institute because their expertiselegal, environmental, or technicalhappened to contribute to the greater Seasteading project. The experts had no plans to visit Ephemerisle; in fact, the movements radical, libertine side seemed to elude them completely.

Like Ephemerisle, the tenor of the conference was scrappy, defiant, and idealistic. The event was staffed by a group of a dozen Seasteading Institute ambassadors, who proselytize for the cause all over the world, and talks ranged from the highly speculativeSeasteading for Medical Tourism, The Economic Viability of Large Floating Structuresto the practical: Seastead Security, for instance, outlined how water cannons and noise machines can protect the cities from pirates and government agents. A panel of legal experts offered a dense explanation of the legal aspects of Seasteading, which is theoretically possible since no one nation has jurisdiction over the high seas. Still, as one lawyer on the panel pointed out, theres no way of knowing how existing countries will react to this assault on their dignity. The Seasteaders I spoke to were undeterred by the possibility of a seastead shutting down at the hands of a belligerent country or the international community. One Institute ambassador who spoke of Patri Friedman in hushed, reverent tones, told me she was confident that the movement was on the right side of history, and that they would be vindicated in the end.

A Costa Rican professor of agricultural engineering named Ricardo Radulovich gave one of the sessions most impassioned talks, about how terrestrial crops like tomatoes could thrive at sea and how algae could provide a sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuels. I met Radulovich, a dapper, ponytailed man in his fifties, over breakfast on the first day of the conference. After telling me about his passion for seaweed, Radulovich pulled a small vial of dried algae from his pocket and opened it on the table. Between bites of his Continental breakfast, he assured me that the powder, which smelled like fish food, would someday feed the world. He described his involvement in Seasteading as a conversion: I couldnt care less about land anymore. I was able to transcend land. It is too limited for the solutions we need.

The end of the second day of the conference ended with a boat cruise, complete with open bar and live jazz band. The ship looped around the Bay as the sun set. The Seasteading Institutes male employees looked like theyd stepped out of a casino, wearing jaunty fitted suits, sunglasses, fedoras, and silver jewelry. Attendees name-dropped Austrian economists and carried on long discussions about the restrictive, freedom-thwarting nature of American immigration policy. I sat at a table with a clean-cut young Seasteading Institute employee named Charlie, who was explaining to an older gentleman the merits of the Paleo diet, a lifestyle that advocates eating a lot of fat and mimicking the eating habits of our caveman ancestors. Paleo was one of the meal options I was given when I signed up for the conference; I would soon learn that it was popular lifestyle among the new wave of tech-libertarians.

I advocate butter for life extension and feeling vibrant, said Charlie Some foods just give you the urge to lift things. His interlocutor, an Institute ambassador in his fifties, looked a little confused. Im sick of being fat, he said. Can we have a seastead with a bootcamp?

The Institute also held a dinner for its benefactors aboard Forbes Island, a floating restaurant off of Pier 39. The dining area was below the deck and maritime paraphernalia adorned the walls of the dim cabin. The room could have passed for a Midtown social club, with its entrepreneurial young men and its rare steaks and red wine, except that the scene would periodically tilt overa queasy reminder that there was no ground below.

I met Patri Friedman in the apartment of Seasteading donor John Chisholm, on the thirty-third floor of Infinity Towers, a high-rise development in San Franciscos SoMa district. Just over five feet tall with a mane of curly black hair and a wiry beard covering his pointy chin, he sat in a chair by the window, explaining his political philosophy while puffing on an electronic cigarette. Seasteading, Patri told me, was borne out of his personal dissatisfaction with the range, as a consumer. The faulty products that Patri referred to were countries.

Some thirty years ago Patris grandfather famously argued that companies have a social responsibility to increase profits and engage in competition. He didnt advocate for a complete free-for-allbusinesses and individuals, he insisted, must play by the rulesbut governments shouldnt be allowed to thwart free trade by monopolizing industry, either. Patri has adapted this thesis for a globalized ideas economy in which countries and borders dont matter as much as the free flow of people, money, and information. Governments, Patri says, should operate the way companies do, serving their customers (that is, citizens) with the best product possible. And like retail consumers, citizens ought to be able to vote with their feet, converging in self-selected groups and encouraging governments to compete for their allegiances. What if Apples genius designers applied their insights on a user experience to build a city thats as fun to use as an iPad? Patri asked during his talk at the conference.

As the theory goes, increased competition for citizens in the public sector would cause the best systems to attract more people, encouraging the widespread adoption of the most popular forms of governance while precipitating the decline of oppressive ones. Thousands of aquatic petri dishes (or, as his colleagues quip, Patri dishes) would encourage people to try out new forms of government to see which ones worked best. If the market were truly free, this would occur naturally, but the structural constraints of the world we live inthe finite number of countries, the limits on mobility based on a persons citizenship, and the artificially imposed impossibility of starting new countries from scratchinstead creates a monopoly on the governance market. Existing governments have no interest in making themselves vulnerable by opening up their borders, so the only solution is to go create thousands of start-up countries in the legal vacuum of international waters.

Patri came to these conclusions after having searched far and wide for Utopia. After graduating from college with a degree in discrete math in 2002, he led the itinerant and occasionally debauched life of a self-professed trust fund kid: living abroad, playing poker, experimenting with drugs and sex, and traveling the world looking for a country to call his own. The thought of living alone, on an island that is completely mine, quietly building infrastructure and waiting for others to choose to join me, is a serene one, Friedman wrote in a Livejournal entry (since deleted) during an exploratory trip to Costa Rica shortly after September 11. True freedom would be worth long periods of isolation. But how much loneliness can I accept for this little step towards freedom, this slight disentanglement from government?

Patris initial hopes for starting an anarcho-capitalist commune in Costa Rica didnt pan out. He liked the idea of Switzerland and Singapore well enough, but they werent long-term solutions. He even considered buying into a citizenship-by-investment scheme in the Caribbean to escape the US, but the costs, he said, were too high. So Patri returned to California, enrolled in a part-time MBA program at Stanford, and began thinking about more radical ways to opt outstarting, then leaving, an intentional community, and co-founding the Seasteading Institute. To spend the rest of my life living under a society whose rules dont fit with my sense of justicethat just sounded horrible and miserable, Patri told me. So I learned about this whole history of nation-founding and floating city movements, and was like You know, theres something to this. People should be able to start new countries. And I think the ocean is the most realistic way of doing it.

The idea of an island utopia isnt exactly new. Erwin S. Strausss How to Start Your Own Country (1983) has served both as a handbook both for new country founders and for historians of floating-city ventures. Strausss definition of a country is a loose one: sidestepping the mainstream understanding of what constitutes a countrya population, a currency, land, and some sort of law, for startersStrauss focuses on one-man attempts at physical DIY statehood staged on ships, fortresses, and artificial land masses.

In 1965, Ernest Hemingways little brother Leicester announced himself the president of the Republic of New Atlantis, an eight-by-thirty-foot barge anchored near the west coast of Jamaica, and later claimed sovereignty over a larger barge near the Bahamas. A few years later, an Objectivist businessman named Werner K. Stiefel founded Operation Atlantis, a new country venture he planned to develop on an island in the Caribbean. Operation Atlantis was originally run out of a motel in upstate New York, where Stiefel lodged volunteers in exchange for their labor. His staff spent several years preparing a ship that finally launched off the East Coast in December 1969, but the Atlanteans took a few liberties with the ships design, according to Strauss, and the boat sank in a hurricane. Then in 1972 a Lithuanian immigrant-turned Las Vegas real estate mogul named Michael J. Oliver hired an Australian dredging ship for $10,000 a week to fill in two reefs with sand 260 miles northeast of the Kingdom of Tonga. He filled fifteen acres, hoping that investors would finance the remaining 1,485 acres to build an island, but the King of Tonga intervened, sending a gang of Tongan convicts to plant a Tongan flag, sing the Tongan national anthem, and claim the land for the Kingdom.

The best-known self-made country is the Principality of Sealand, founded by Paddy Roy Bates, a British pirate radio operator who moved into a World War II anti-aircraft tower off the coast of Great Britain. Bates declared his independence on September 2, 1967 and went to great lengths to preserve his honor, firing shots at repairmen working on a nearby tower and taking some German businessmen hostage after they attempted a purported coup dtat. About ten years ago Prince Roy started a data hosting service called HavenCo with entrepreneur and cyberpunk author Sean Hasting, hoping to build a relatively unregulated alternative to existing server farms on Sealand. The experiment was short-lived: it turned out that the rig-like platform lacked the necessary infrastructure to host sophisticated servers, and when Hastings dropped out for personal reasons in 2002 there was no one to lead the way.

Four years later, a fire broke out on Sealand. The Bateses were in Spain at the time; the only Sealand resident, a security guard, was rescued by the British Royal Air Force. The damage reached half a million pounds, but authorities decided not to charge Sealand for the trouble.

A more contemporary example of aquatic self-governance is Freewinds, a cruise ship chartered by the Church of Scientology (another California-based, sci-fi inspired faction of privileged, somewhat paranoid individuals). Freewinds houses the Sea Org, the groups elite junior corps, and flies a Panamanian flag, functioning essentially as its own floating nation. But its anything but idyllic: a number of former residents have publicly complained about the slavelike conditions and environmental hazards on the ship.

The vast majority of the ventures in How to Start Your Own Country are either the follies of egocentric young men or thinly veiled tax and regulation avoidance schemes. None of the countries Strauss describes were ever recognized by other, existing countries, or by the UN, which is generally how new states gain legitimacy. Aware of this history, the Seasteading Institute has done what it can to distance itself from the comical undoings of new countries pastcouching its free-market theories in techno-utopian language and using the abracadabra of innovation as its crutch. People dismiss the idea as crackpotish, remarked John Chisholm, the donor, at the conference. But if you address them as you would your fellow futurist, it might be more palatable.

The Institute has also focused on the idea of creating artificial landmass on its owna way, perhaps, to demand legitimacy from those unwilling to see ships or barges as proper countries. Recast in the language of the start-up economy, the spectacular failures of DIY countries become noble enterprises. And, like start-up companies, they just might succeed in changing the way we see the worldand make a few people very, very rich. The countrys running on an operating system from 1778, Patri told me. If cars did that, wed be riding horses.

As he spoke, Patri gestured toward the great beyond. The view was breathtaking: wall-to-wall windows overlooked the Bay Bridge, and the water looked like an inky, peaceful swimming pool. Lookthats a container ship coming out of the Port of Oakland, going out to the bridge, he said, pointing to a large vessel with the giddy enthusiasm of a small child. It was easy, from three hundred feet up, to imagine a seastead in its place.

After I met my cabin-mates on Ephemerisles South Island, I kayaked back to the North to catch the senior director of the Seasteading Institute introducing a series of lectures on the main platform The state of Seasteading is strong! declared Randy Hencken, a ropey man with dragon tattoos covering his chest and back. Hencken, who had recently left a job at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, explained that a dearth of employment and freedom on land would precipitate the development of seasteads over the next two decades. The Institute had already made progress: an anonymous donor had given them a 275-foot cruise ship, and a general-audience book about Seasteading will be published by Simon & Schuster later this year.

The first presentation showcased the jellypus, an iPad-controlled luminescent jellyfish that sat about a foot under water, pulsing with light to the rhythm of whatever song was on. Then Michael Hartl, a bald, affable physicist who told me he writes off Ephemerisle as a business expense in his taxes (networking) led a pirate shanty sing-along in a pitch-perfect baritone. Hartl embodies what tech entrepreneurs call creative disruption: he made a name for himself by pressing mathematicians to stop using Pi as a constant and instead rely on the more elegant Tau, the ratio of a circles circumference to its radius. Hartl has also taught astrophysics at Caltech and mentored Thiel Fellowscollege students whom Peter Thiel, perhaps the worlds most famous disrupter, paid $100,000 to drop out of school and start companies. Ever since I was a little kid, Ive wanted to be a pirate, Hartl beamed. And now Im doing it!

A young man named Kevin then went on at length about how large doses of electrolytesthe equivalent of twenty Gatoradescan make you smarter.

What about Creatine? asked an audience member. Does Creatine make you smarter?

Only if youre a vegetarian, replied Kevin. Creatine only makes you smarter if you dont eat meat.

In addition to seeing government as just another problem that technology can overcome, Seasteaders try to hack every aspect of their existence down to their self-care regimens. Many participate in health and fitness regimes like the Paleo Diet and Crossfitlifestyles that dovetail nicely with more mainstream libertarian retro-futurism, which argues humans ought to live more like they did before their freedom was impinged upon by large state governments, all while enjoying the enhancements of technological innovation forged in the free market. It wasnt just Charlie from the boat cruise who proselytized the health benefits of butter: the unofficial beverage of Ephemerisle was Bulletproof Coffeeblack coffee with half a stick of butter mixed inwhich advocates claim increases their mental acuity and helps them stay trim. The inventor of the concoction claims to have increased his IQ by twenty points and lost 100 pounds as a result of his experiments hacking his biology. He was at Ephemerisle, too and later, in an email, told me hed had a great time.

This tendency toward engineering everything spills into the social sphere. To supplement real or perceived romantic shortcomings, some Seasteaders dabble in pickup artistry, a method of seducing women thats been likened to an algorithm and self-legitimized by handpicked data and bunk theories about evolution. The male vanity coursing under all this life-hacking may explain why so few women participate in projects like these. While theres little overt sexism in the gay-friendly, drug-happy Seasteading community, theres nothing preventing a hypothetical start-up country from regressing into a patriarchal, Paleo-Futuristic state. If anything, the movements reverence for caveman essentialism suggests the latterthat real goal is to remake civilization, starting from a primal, natural condition that they can revive in the modern world thanks to new technologies.

Or maybe the goal is to build Facebook, the country. Seasteading rhetoric echoes early visions of the Internet, recalling John Perry Barlows web manifesto, The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Perry liberally employs the metaphor of a seamless, timeless, borderless ocean to describe the web, and his vehement resistance to any form of Internet regulation has a real-life parallel in the no-countries, no-rules ethos that Seasteaders embrace. We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks, wrote Barlow, on behalf of Cyberspace, in 1996. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear. The idea of the Internet promised an impossible libertarian dream: a way to be alone, together.

The actual Internet has largely failed to live up to Barlows ideal of fluid, seamless space. But that hasnt stopped Seasteading from attempting to recreate his vision IRL. At Ephemerisle, Internet piracy manifested in hacked radio stations and in the shanties of actual pirates. Memesbacon, cuddling, BFFLswere acted out offline. There was even a rumor that someone had brought a cat onto one of the houseboats. The festival was conceived of and organized almost entirely online; it has its own Facebook page, a Twitter, a detailed wiki with planning notes, evaluations, and a postmortem for the past few events.

Its no coincidence that members of the online Reddit community, all male, made plans independently of the Seasteaders to take over an island in the Caribbean. The project failed.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at sunrise after having slept on a foldout bench in the front section of our houseboat. The wind had picked up dramatically overnight, and when I stepped onto the deck for some fresh air I nearly lost my balance. Over the next four hours, the gusts proceeded to tear the floating cities apart. The platforms rocked on the water and the inflatable rafts tied to out boat now blew violently onto our deck, knocking over chairs and crashing into the doorframe.

I watched from my boat as the islands deteriorated in slow motion. First, the North side rotated 90 degrees; then, it began to lose chunks of its main platform, one by one. The South began to wobble precariously, and a few rugged types whod taken charge of the situation were yelling orders at each other from their decks and frantically Tweeting alerts to other islands. The turquoise toenail polish the men had applied the day before sparkled on their bloodied feet as they attempted to untangle rogue anchors from the riverbed and fold up the Cuddle Gallery, which was on the verge of blowing away.

Ephemerisle had entered a state of emergency, and its residents were more than ready to declare martial law. The North is floating toward us! barked a young man from outside. Stay in your houseboats! When I tried to escape my stuffy cabin and climb up to the roof, a second young man gave me a brusque lecture on safety.

By mid-morning, the two main cities had fractured into a half dozen stranded units floating alone in the turbulent waters. The West had vanished entirelyone of the boats had drifted off and gotten stuck by a nearby levee, while most of the others took off to other parts of the river. There was no reliable form of communication between the boats. A few people had radios. Some yelled. The rest of us had half-charged phones with weak Internet connections. Transport, as always, was limited.

Confined to a few square feet with a leaky trash bag and too many bodies in one cabin, my cabin-mates and I showered with tepid river water and nursed hangovers with our dwindling supply of store-bought liquids. Dirty, smelly, and bored, we sat around and tried to make small talk. We had nothing to talk about; aquatic life had grown tiresome.

Sorry it didnt work out quite as planned, you guys, said Cyprien. Its not so fun being isolated. The Chinese engineers napped, and Cypriens relatives hung out at the back of the boat looking bored. On the other end, some people just took off and went home. Im done with this. Goodbye! yelled Michael Hartl from his deck.

As Hartls boat rumbled away into the distance, a sense of relief washed over the South. We remembered that nothing bound us to this placewe could leave. No countries, no rules: when Id asked Patri what would happen if a seastead turned into a dictatorship, or the Scientologists Freewinds ship, hed advocated for the right of exit. It is this rightultimately, the right to choose ones neighborswas what made Seasteading so desirable in the first place. You could build a utopia, but you had no obligation to stick with it. After all, one quality of utopia, at least libertarian utopia, was that you could leave anytime. So we did.

Ephemerisle, though, went on through Sunday, and ended on a happy note. Those who persevered pieced what was left of the two remaining neighborhoods back together when the wind died down, and continued their revelry late into the night with just one notable incident. At around 5 PM a young man decided to go skinny-dipping in the river. He had dropped acid earlier in the day, so a fellow Ephemerisler, worried about his safety, coaxed him out and called the Coast Guard over to the islands for guidance. The man was standing on a houseboat wearing nothing but his blanket when the officers arrived; when he saw them, he dropped the sheet, jumped in the water again, and swam away. He reached a levee, scrambled out of the water, and took off running through the reedsa free man living a free life, in the radical wilderness of the American West.

But the law was onto him, and the law won: within minutes, the naked white male was caught, cuffed, and escorted back to dry land. The Ephemerislers watched from their boats.

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Jun 282016

Welcome to Worldwide Incorporation Services – Leading Provider of Offshore Company Formations

Since 1998, Worldwide Incorporation Services has offered a wide range of solutions and services in supporting clients with their worldwide corporate, banking and investment needs. Worldwide Incorporation Services offers the offshore companies formation and their following administration, services of the registered agent for the offshore companies, virtual office, nominee directors and nominee shareholders for the offshore companies, secretarial services, bank accounts introduction, administrative and tax consulting.

Offshore basically means located abroad or in business can refer to conducting business transactions beyond the borders of a particular jurisdiction or country. Offshore activities are those carried out in another sovereign country that has a separate legal structure and government which is different from that of your home country. Globalization has made it possible to incorporate offshore business activities into the normal operating routine of an enterprise.

An offshore company is a business that is incorporated with the sole purpose of having its operations in a country different from where it is registered/where it directors reside/ where the main stakeholders and beneficiaries reside. An offshore company can also refer to a division of a corporate group that engages foreign manufacturers or foreign business services as part of its mode of operation. Although there are many misconceptions about offshore companies with many thinking that offshore companies are affiliated with illegal trading activities, this is often a false illusion. In fact some of the biggest companies in the world such as Google and apple are legally involved in some semblance of offshore operations. Offshore operations are legal as long as a business adheres to regulations of the new jurisdiction. The offshore company operates on the basis that it can act independently without stringent stifling control measures.

An offshore company can come in handy in the following situations:

1) If you are a startup running on a shoe string budget and therefore need to cutoff budgetary demands. By setting up an offshore company a business will reduce tax obligation, lower registration costs and reduce operating costs.

2) An offshore company is necessary for the growth of your business if you want to conceal the financial information or want to conceal the details of company directors and shareholders.

3) Another necessity of an offshore company is when you have the intention of going global or you have a large foreign consumer base. When most of your customers are not based within your parent company then it is a sound business idea to register in the foreign country where they are based. This will help you build credible business ties and establish reliable business relationships in countries where you have vested interests.

4) If your enterprise is an online business then it is best that you set it up as an offshore company. An online business is a virtual set up that is not subject to geographical location. Therefore, there is no logical reason to be limited to a single geographical location that is disadvantageous to the growth of your business. Consider making your online business an offshore company so that you can build streams of income from foreign countries. Income streams from foreign countries are particularly necessary when your home country suffers rampant inflation. An income stream from a strong overseas currency keeps your online business relatively stable.

5) If your home country is politically unstable or the government has too many restrictions on the type of business you are dealing with. There are still many countries that do not fully support some industries. In such a case it is necessary to register your business in a country that supports all your business operation. This gives an entrepreneur an easy time running a business by reducing government interruption. If your parent country is politically unstable then it is only logical that your consider going offshore to protect your business interests.

6) Setting up an offshore company comes in handy if your business is venturing into new markets that have increased territorial taxation. By registering an affiliate of your business in such a foreign territory, you will be able to cut down on territorial taxation costs and other territorial business regulations which countries use to protect local entrepreneurships. By being registered in the foreign destination that you are attempting to venture into, you are in essence showing a government your seriousness as an investor. This will ensure you are accorded with fair treatment.

Offshore companies have become a viable business solution for many entrepreneurs due to the following benefits:

Minimal taxation This is primarily the reason why many entrepreneurs favor offshore companies. By registering a company in a foreign country you can significantly reduces tax obligations. This is because most countries treat foreign companies to tax exemptions and in some cases charge foreign companies extremely low taxes to encourage and motivate foreign investors. This is a relief especially to start ups that are bootstrapped and cannot afford the high tax obligations in their home countries. However, to ensure that an offshore companies stays on the right side of the law it is imperative to hire an experienced financial analyst. The financial analyst conclusively establishes that there is no conflict concerning tax obligations between the country of operations and the country of registration.

Preserving Confidentiality Unlike in countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom where the public can easily access financial information and details of stakeholders and beneficiaries of a company, there are foreign countries where such information is kept confidential. Many offshore financial jurisdictions keep this kind of information private under all circumstances apart from in cases where the company is involved in criminal activities such as fraud and terrorism. This anonymity can come in handy when striking deals with competitors or operating in a market that does not favor a particular individual or group that is a shareholder.

Reduced administration obligations Most offshore jurisdictions have minimal obligatory duties for directors and managers of companies as compared to onshore jurisdictions. Some of the requirements that onshore jurisdictions have on administrators that offshore jurisdictions do not have include filing annual accounting reports. Instead of the administrative obligations, most offshore companies charge offshore companies an annual license fee which is significant as compared to all the administrative obligations if a company was operating in an onshore jurisdiction.

Protection of a companys assets This comes in handy especially if a company is global and has international interests. An international company uses an offshore company to preserve company assets such as real estate property and intellectual property. By preserving assets in offshore jurisdictions such assets are not liable to high tax obligations. If your business is onshore and undergoing a lawsuit. There is a high probability that a subsequent document will be filed to freeze up all your companys assets such as company bank accounts and all property affiliated to your business. On the other hand when your business is offshore, it is impossible for legal litigation to freeze and seize company assets. This is extremely helpful especially to United States entrepreneurs because studies approximate that a whopping 96% of global lawsuits are filed in the US. An offshore company protects its assets by only limiting locally available funds to what is needed to fund the necessary needs of a company. This essentially puts the company in control of its own assets without external interference.

Offshore companies are relatively cheaper to setup and incur lower maintenance costs The legal processes involved in offshore company formation are easy straightforward and inexpensive. Additionally, maintenance is also cheaper as the local authorities in most offshore jurisdictions only require an annual license fee.

Offshore companies require significantly lower capital compared to onshore companies Depending on your offshore jurisdiction of choice, the capital is quite and sometimes there is no obligatory capital requirement required upon registration. This makes offshore companies an invaluable business solution for startups operating on a shoe string budget.

Offshore companies help establish international business ties Thanks to globalization the business world is now borderless. By setting up an offshore company a corporation can establish productive business ties and develop credible business relations with foreign countries. Foreign countries are prospective clients for the products of a company. A corporation can innovatively use its offshore company as a channel to venture into a new market. The foreign government and the local residents are more likely to trust a business that is registered within its jurisdiction.

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Ethical Egoism and Biblical Self-Interest | Papers at …

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J.P. Moreland, Westminster Theological Journal 59 (1997), pp. 257-68. Nov 30 . 1997

The Old and New Testaments contain a number of passages that in some way or another associate moral obligation with self-interest in the form of seeking rewards and avoiding punishment. Thus, Exod 20:12 says Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Jesus tells us to seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matt 6:33). On another occasion he warns his listeners that at the end of the age the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 13:49-50). Paul states his ambition to be pleasing to the Lord for we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds. (II Cor 5:10). The fact that rewards and punishments are associated with self-interest and moral or religious obligation is clear throughout the scriptures. What is not so clear is just how to understand these passages from the point of view of normative moral theory. More specifically, do texts of this sort imply that ethical egoism (to be defined below) is the correct normative ethical theory derived from the Bible? In over a decade of teaching ethics, I regularly have students, when first exposed to ethical egoism, draw the conclusion that this ethical system is, indeed, the best way to capture biblical ethics. And while popular works on the spiritual life are not sophisticated enough to be clear on the matter, a number of them, especially those that promote a prosperity gospel, would seem to be expressions of ethical egoism.

The identification of ethical egoism with biblical ethics is not confined to popular venues. Secular philosopher John Hospers argues that when believers justify being moral on the basis of a doctrine of eternal rewards and punishments, this is simply an appeal to self-interest . [N]othing could be a clearer appeal to naked and unbridled power than this.1 The vast majority of Christian philosophers and theologians have seen some combination of deontological and virtue ethics to be the best way to capture the letter and spirit of biblical ethics. Still, the problem of egoism has been noted by some and embraced by others. Years ago, Paul Ramsey raised the problem of ethical egoism when he queried,

But what of salvation? Is not salvation the end for which Christians quest? What of rewards in the kingdom of heaven? What of mans everlasting and supernatural good, the souls life with God in the hereafter mans chief end, glorifying God and enjoying him forever. Is not salvation itself a supreme value which Christians seek with earnest passion, each first of all for himself?2

Theologian Edward John Carnell (inaccurately in my view) has been understood as having promoted some form of ethical egoism.3

In recent years, Christian philosopher and theologian Philip R. West has argued that deontological ethics do not capture biblical morality and that ethical egoism is the correct normative theory in this regard. Says West, They [the OT writers] apparently believed not only that actual divine punishment is enough to establish the obligation to obey divine commands, but like Paul, that the absence of actual divine punishment erodes the obligatory status of these commands.4 Elsewhere, West defends the thesis that some agent A has a moral obligation to do P if and only if doing P will maximize As own self-interest. He argues that since scripture grounds our obligations in self-interest (rewards/punishments), this amounts to ethical egoism.

What should we make of this claim? Is ethical egoism the correct normative theory from a biblical point of view? My purpose in what follows is to show why ethical egoism is a defective normative ethical theory and, given this conclusion, to offer ways to understand biblical self-interest that do not entail the truth of ethical egoism. In what follows, I will, first, clarify the precise nature of ethical egoism; second, summarize the main types of arguments for and against ethical egoism in the literature and conclude that ethical egoism is inadequate; third, offer a set of distinctions for understanding biblical self-interest while avoiding ethical egoism.

The most plausible form of ethical egoism, embraced by philosophers such as Ayn Rand and John Hospers, is called universal or impersonal rule-egoism (hereafter, simply ethical egoism). Since Hospers is the most prominent philosopher to advocate ethical egoism, his definition is the most pertinent: each person has a moral duty to follow those moral rules that will be in the agents maximal self-interest over the long haul.5 For the ethical egoist, one has a duty to follow correct moral rules. And the factor that makes a rule a correct one is that, if followed, it will be in the agents own best interests in the long run. Each person ought to advance his own self-interests and that is the sole foundation of morality.

Ethical egoism is sometimes confused and identified with various distinct issues. First, there is individual or personal ethical egoism which says everyone has a duty to act so as to serve my self-interests. Here, everyone is morally obligated to serve the speakers long term best interests. Second, there is psychological egoism, roughly, the idea that each person can only do that act which the person takes to maximize his or her own self-interest. Psychological egoism is a descriptive thesis about motivation to the effect that we can only act on motives that are in our own self-interests. As we shall see shortly, psychological egoism is sometimes used as part of an argument for ethical egoism, but the two are distinct theses.

Third, ethical egoism is not the same thing as egotism an irritating character trait of always trying to be the center of attention. Nor is it the same as what is sometimes called being a wanton. A wanton has no sense of duty at all, but only acts to satisfy his or her own desires. The only conflict the wanton knows is that between two or more desires he cannot simultaneously satisfy (e.g. to eat more and lose weight). The wanton knows nothing about duty. Arguably, animals are wantons. Fifth, ethical egoism is not to be confused with being an egoist, i.e. being someone who believes that the sole worth of an act is its fairly immediate benefits to the individual himself. With this understanding of ethical egoism as a backdrop, let us look at the arguments for and against ethical egoism that have been preeminent in the literature. A detailed treatment of these arguments is not possible here, but by looking briefly at the main considerations usually brought to bear on ethical egoism, a feel for its strengths and weaknesses as a normative ethical theory emerges.

Among the arguments for ethical egoism, two have distinguished themselves, at least in textbook treatments of the position.6 First, it is argued that ethical egoism follows from psychological egoism in this way: psychological egoism is true and this implies that we always and cannot help but act egoistically. This is a fact about human motivation and action. Further, ought implies can. If I ought to do x, if I have a duty to do x, then I must be able to do x. If I cannot do something, then I have no duty or responsibility to do it. Applied to egoism, this means that since I can act egoistically, then I have a duty to do so and since I cannot act non-egoistically, then I have no duty to do so. Thus, ethical egoism is the correct picture of moral obligation in keeping with what we know about human motivation.

Does this argument work? Most philosophers have not thought so. First, the principle of psychological egoism, viz. that we always act to maximize our own self-interest, is ambiguous. So stated, the principle falls to make a distinction between the result of an act vs. the intent of an act. If it is understood in the former way it is irrelevant and if taken in the latter way it is false. If the statement merely asserts that, as a matter of fact, the result of our actions is the maximization of self-interest, then this does not imply ethical egoism. Ethical egoism is the view that the thing which morally justifies an act is the agents intent to maximize his own self-interests. So the mere psychological fact (if it is a fact) that people only do those acts that result in their own satisfaction proves nothing.

On the other hand, if the statement claims that we always act solely with the intent to satisfy our own desires, then this claim is simply false. Every day we are aware of doing acts with the sole intent of helping someone else, of doing something just because we think it is the right thing to do, and of expressing virtuous, other-centered behavior. As Christian phiosopher Joseph Butler (1692-1752) argued:

Mankind has various instincts and principles of action as brute creatures have; Some leading most directly and immediately to the good of the community, and some most directly to private good [I]t is not a true representation of mankind, to affirm that they are wholly governed by self-love, the love of power and sensual appetites . it is manifest fact, that the same persons, the generality, are frequently influenced by friendship, compassion, gratitude; and liking of what is fair and just, takes its turn amongst the other motives of action.7

Furthermore, it is not even true that we always try to do what we want or what we think is in our self-interests. We sometimes experience akrasia (weakness of will) when we fail to do or even try to do what we want (see Rom 7:15-25). And we sometimes do (or try to do) our duty even when we dont want to do it. These points appear to be facts about human action.

Second, this argument for ethical egoism suffers from what has been called the paradox of hedonism. Often, the best way maximize self-interest, say, to get happiness and the satisfaction of desire is not to aim at it. Happiness is not usually achieved as an intended goal, but rather, it is a bi-product of a life well lived and of doing what is right. If people always act in order to gain happiness, then it will remain forever elusive. Thus, psychological egoism contains a paradox when viewed as a model of human intention and action.

Finally, as a model of human action, psychological egoism rules out the possibility of libertarian freedom of the will. Briefly put, it should be noted that if libertarian freedom of the will is the correct view of human action, then the following implications follow: 1) no amount of internal states (e.g. desires, beliefs, emotions) are sufficient to produce behavior, and 2) the agent himself must spontaneously exercise his causal powers and act for the sake of reasons which function as teleological goals. For libertarians, a free act is never determined by any particular reason, including desire. Thus, on this view, psychological egoism is false if taken as a total account of human action because it implies that a person must always act for a self-interested reason. Libertarian freedom is controversial and not everyone accepts this model of human action. But the point is that for those who do, it counts as a counter-argument to psychological egoism.

A second argument for ethical egoism is called the closet utilitarian position. Some point out that if everyone acted in keeping with ethical egoism, the result would be the maximization of happiness for the greatest number of people. If acted upon, ethical egoism, as a matter of fact, leads to the betterment of humanity. There are two main problems with this argument. First, it amounts to a utilitarian justification of ethical egoism. Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory to the effect that a moral action or rule is correct if and only if performing that act or following that rule maximizes the greatest amount of non-moral good vs. bad for the greatest number compared to alternative acts or rules open to the agent. While both are consequentialist in orientation, nevertheless, utilitarianism and ethical egoism are rival normative theories. It is inconsistent, therefore, for someone to use a rival theory, in this case, utilitarianism, as the moral justification for ethical egoism. If one is an ethical egoist, why should he or she care about the greatest good for the greatest number for its own sake, and not merely because such caring would itself lead to greater satisfaction of ones individual desires? Second, the claim seems to be factually false. Is it really the case that if everyone acted according to ethical egoism, it would maximize everyones happiness? Surely not. Sometimes self-sacrifice is needed to maximize happiness for the greatest number, and this argument for ethical egoism cannot allow for personal denial.

There are other arguments for ethical egoism, but these two have been the most central for those who advocate this normative theory. As we have seen, both arguments fail. By contrast, the main arguments against ethical egoism seem to be strong enough to justify rejecting the system as an adequate normative theory.

Among the arguments against ethical egoism, three are most prominent. First, is the publicity objection. Moral principles must serve as action guides that inform moral situations. Most moral situations involve more than one person and, in this sense, are public situations. Thus, moral action guides must be teachable to others so they can be publically used principles that help us in our interpersonal moral interactions. However, according to ethical egoism itself, there is a possible world where it is immoral for me to teach others to embrace ethical egoism because that could easily turn out not to be in my own self-interest. It may be better for me if others always acted altruistically. Thus, it could be immoral for one to go public and teach ethical egoism to others and, if so, this would violate one of the necessary conditions for a moral theory, namely, that it be teachable to others.

Philosopher Fred Feldman has offered a rejoinder to this argument.8 He claims that we have no good reason to believe that a moral doctrine needs to be consistently promulgatable. Why, he asks, should we have to be able to teach a moral doctrine to others? Someone could consistently hold to the following moral notion P as a part of his overall moral system: it is never right to promulgate anything. Unfortunately, this response fails because it does not capture the public nature of moral principles (or normative ethical theories) in so far as they serve as action guides to adjudicate interpersonal moral conflict. How could the principle it is never right to promulgate anything serve as an action guide sufficient to deal with the various aspects of duty, virtue, and rights that constitute much of the point of action guides in the first place?

Moreover, this response fails to take into account the universalizability of moral rules. If I should never promulgate anything, then this implies that I should not teach something to someone else. But there does not seem to be a clear moral difference in this case between others and myself. To be consistent, then, I should not proclaim this moral principle to myself. Perhaps I should try to hide from myself the fact that I accept this role. This implies, among other things, that if I hold to P as a moral principle that should be universalized, then, applying P to myself, I would no longer have moral grounds for continuing to embrace P on the basis of reasons known to me or for making P known to myself. I should do my best to forget P or talk myself out of believing P. On the other hand, if I do not think P should be universalized, then in what sense is P a moral principle (since universalizability is most likely a necessary condition for a principle counting as moral)?

A second argument against ethical egoism is called the paradox of egoism. Some things, e.g. altruism, deep love, genuine friendship, are inconsistent with ethical egoism. Why? Because these features of a virtuous, moral life require us not to seek our own interests but, rather, those of others. Moreover, ethical egoism would seem to imply that helping others at ones own expense (and other acts of self sacrifice) is wrong if it is not in my long term self-interest to do so. Thus, egoism would seem to rule out important, central features of the moral life. The main point of a normative moral theory is to explain and not to eliminate what we already know to be central facets of morality prior to ethical theorizing. Furthermore, in order to reach the goal of egoism (e.g., personal happiness), one must give up egoism and be altruistic in love, friendship, and other ways. Thus, egoism is paradoxical in its own right and it eliminates key aspects of the moral life.

Some respond by claiming that altruism is fully consistent with ethical egoism. Hospers argues that, according to ethical egoism, we ought to do acts that benefit others because that is in our own self-interests.9 In a similar vein, Fred Feldman asserts that egoism allows us to perform altruistic actions provided that such actions are ultimately in our own self-interests.10 But this response fails to distinguish pseudo-altruism from genuine altruism.

Genuine altruism requires that an altruistic act have, as its sole, or at least main intent, the benefit of the other. An act whose sole or ultimate intent is self-interest but which, nevertheless, does result in the benefit of others is not genuine altruism. If you found out that someone loved you or acted altruistically toward you solely or ultimately with the intent of benefiting himself, then you would not count that as genuine love or altruism even if the act happened to benefit you in some way. Thus, egoistic altruism is a contradiction in terms. Ethical egoism is consistent with pseudo-altruism but not with genuine altruism.

Finally, a third objection claims that ethical egoism leads to inconsistent outcomes. A moral theory must allow for moral rules that are public and universalizable. But ethical egoism could lead to situations where this is not the case. How? Consider two persons A and B in a situation where they have a conflict of interest. For example, suppose there was only one kidney available for transplant, that A and B both need it, and that A or B will die without the transplant. According to universal ethical egoism, A ought to act in his own self-interests and prescribe that his desires come out on top. A had a duty to secure the kidney and thwart Bs attempts to do the same. This would seem to imply that A should prescribe that B has a duty to act in As self-interest. Of course B, according to universal ethical egoism, has from his perspective a duty to act in his own self-interest. But now a contradiction arises because ethical egoism implies that B both has a duty to give the kidney to A and obtain it himself.

Jesse Kalin has responded to this argument by claiming that, as an ethical egoist, A should not hold that B should act in As self-interest, but in Bs own self- interest.11 This would seem to solve the problem of contradictory duty above by rejecting individual ethical egoism (everyone should act in my self-interest) in favor of the universal version (everyone should act in his own self-interest). But this way of stating ethical egoism does not seem to capture the egoistic spirit of the ethical egoism because it leaves open the question as to why egoist A would need to hold that B should act in Bs interests and not in As. In other words, it may not be in As own self-interests to hold to universal, as opposed to individual ethical egoism.

Moreover, there is still a problem for this formulation of ethical egoism which can be brought out as follows: A holds that B has a duty to obtain the kidney for himself, have his interests come out on top, and, thus, harm A. But in this case, ethical egoism still seems to imply an inconsistent posture on As (and Bs) part, namely, that A thinks that B has a duty to get the kidney and harm A but that A has a duty to thwart B. Any moral theory that implies that someone has a moral duty to keep others from doing their moral duty is surely in trouble, so the objection goes. And it is hard to see how an ethical egoist A could claim that someone else had a duty to harm A himself.

Not everyone accepts this argument. Following Kalin, Louis Pojman claims that we often find it to be the case that we have a duty to thwart what is the duty of others, e.g., in a war one soldier has a duty to thwart anothers efforts to do his duty to win. In a case like this, soldiers on different sides do not believe that the other side has adequate moral grounds for being at war.12 If we separate beliefs about ethical situations from desires, so the response goes, then one person can believe the other had a duty to win the war or get the kidney, but the person can also desire to these objectives for himself and act on those desires. In general, the belief that B ought to do x does not imply that A wants B to do x.

What should we make of this response? First, the soldier example fails because it does not distinguish between subjective and objective duty. Subjective duty is one someone has when he has done his best to discover what is and is not the right thing to do. If someone sincerely and conscientiously tries to ascertain what is right, and acts on this, then he has fulfilled his subjective duty and, in a sense, is praiseworthy. But people can be sincerely wrong and fail to live up to their objective duty-the truly correct thing to do from Gods perspective, the overriding moral obligation when all things, including prima facie duties, have been taken into account-even if they have tried to do their best. Admittedly, it is not always easy to determine what the correct objective duty is in a given case. But this is merely an epistemological point and, while valid, it does not negate the legitimacy of the distinction between subjective and objective duty.

Applied to the question at hand, soldier A could only claim that soldier B has both a prima facie duty and a subjective duty to obey his country. But A could also believe that B has an objective duty to do so only if Bs country is, in fact, conducting a morally justified war. Now either A or B is on the right side of the war even though it may be hard to tell which side is correct. Thus, A and B could believe that only one of them actually has an objective duty to fight and thwart the other. So the war example does not give a genuine case where A believes B has a (objective) duty to fight and that he has to thwart B.

Second, what should we make of the claim that we should separate our beliefs about anothers duty from the desire to see that duty done? For one thing, a main point of a moral theory is to describe what a virtuous person is and how we can become such persons. Now, one aspect of a virtuous person is that there is a harmony and unity between desire and duty. A virtuous person desires that the objective moral right be done. Such a person is committed to the good and the right. With this in mind, it becomes clear that ethical egoism, if consistently practiced, could produce fragmented, non-virtuous individuals who believe one thing about duty (e.g., A believes B ought to do x) but who desire something else altogether (e.g., A does not desire B to do x).

However, if we grant that the ethical egoists distinction between beliefs and desires is legitimate from a moral point of view, then this distinction does resolve the claim that ethical egoism leads to a conflict of desire, e.g., A desires the kidney and that B obtain the kidney, since it implies that A believes that B has a duty to receive the kidney but only desires that he himself have it. Nevertheless, this misses the real point of the objection to ethical egoism, namely, that ethical egoism straightforwardly leads to a conflict of desire. Rather, the objection shows that ethical egoism leads to an unresolvable conflict of moral beliefs and moral duty. If A and B are ethical egoists, then A believes that it is wrong for B to have the kidney but also that it is Bs duty to try to obtain it. But how can A consistently believe that B has a duty to do something wrong? And how can A have an objective duty to thwart Bs objective duty?

It would seem, then, that ethical egoism should be rejected as a normative ethical theory and that legitimate self-interest is part of Biblical teaching, e.g. in the passages relating moral obligation to rewards and punishments. If we should not understand these texts as implicitly affirming ethical egoism, how should we understand the self-interest they apparently advocate? I do not think that exegesis alone can solve this problem because the context and grammar of the passages are usually not precise enough to settle the philosophical issue before us. However, if we assume with the majority of thinkers that deontological and virtue ethics, and not ethical egoism, are the correct normative theories implied by Scripture, then we have a set of distinctions that provide a number of legitimate ways of understanding biblical self-interest.

To begin with, we need to distinguish between self-benefit as a bi-product of an act vs. self-interest as the sole intent of an act. Scriptural passages that use self-interest may simply be pointing out that if you intentionally do the right thing, then a good bi-product of this will be rewards of various kinds. It could be argued against philosopher Philip R. West (mentioned earlier) that these passages do not clearly use self-interest as the sole legitimate intent of a moral action.

This observation relates to a second distinction between a motive and a reason. Put roughly, a motive is some state within a person that influences and moves him to action. By contrast, a reason is something that serves to justify rationally some belief that one has or some action one does; a reason for believing or doing x is an attempt to cite something that makes it likely that x be true or that x should be done. In this context, just because something, say self-interest, serves as a motive for an action, it does not follow that it also serves as the reason which justifies the action in the first place. Self-interest may be a legitimate motive for moral action, but, it could be argued, Gods commands, the objective moral law, etc. could be rationally cited as the things that make an act our duty in the first place. The Bible may be citing selfinterest as a motive for action and not as the reason for what makes the act our duty.

Moreover, even if Scripture is teaching that self-interest is a reason for doing some duty, it may be offering self-interest as a prudential and not a moral reason for doing the duty. In other words, the Bible may be saying that it is wise, reasonable, and a matter of good judgment to avoid hell and seek rewards without claiming that these considerations are moral reasons for acting according to self-interest.13 In sum, it could be argued that Scripture can be understood as advocating self-interest as a bi-product and not an intent for action, as a motive and not a reason, or as a prudential and not a moral reason. If this is so, then these scriptural ideas do not entail ethical egoism.

Second, even if scripture teaches that self-interest contributes to making something my moral duty, ethical egoism still does not follow. For one thing, ethical egoism teaches that an act is moral if and only if it maximizes my own self-interests. Ethical egoism teaches that self-interest is both necessary and sufficient for something to be my duty. However, it could be argued that egoistic factors, while not alone morally relevant to an act (other things like self-sacrifice or obeying God for its own sake are relevant as well), nevertheless, are at least one feature often important for assessing the moral worth of an act. Moral duty is not exhausted by self-interest as ethical egoism implies, but self-interest can be a legitimate factor in moral deliberation and scripture may be expressing this point.

Additionally, it is likely that the precise nature of self-interest contained in scripture is different in two ways from that which forms part of ethical egoism. For one thing, according to ethical egoism, the thing that makes an act right is that it is in my self-interest. The important value-making property here is the fact that something promotes the first person interests of the actor. Here, the moral agent attends to himself precisely as being identical to himself and to no one else.

By contrast, the scriptural emphasis on self-interest most likely grounds the appropriateness of such interest, not in the mere fact that these interests are mine, but in the fact that I am a creature of intrinsic value made in Gods image and, as such, ought to care about what happens to me. Here I seek my own welfare not because it is my own, but because of what I am, viz. a creature with high intrinsic value. Consider a possible world where human persons have no value whatever (or where human counter-parts with no intrinsic value exist). In that world, ethical egoism would still legislate self-interest, but the second view under consideration (that self-interest follows from the fact that I am a creature of value) would not because the necessary condition for self-interest (being a creature of intrinsic value) does not obtain in that world.

There is a second way that the nature of self-interest in Scripture and in ethical egoism differ. As C. S. Lewis and C. Stephen Evans have argued, there are different kinds of rewards, and some are proper because they have a natural, intrinsic connection with the things we do to earn them and because they are expressions of what God made us to be by nature. 14 In such cases, these rewards provide a reason to do an activity which does not despoil the character of the activity itself. Money is not a natural reward for love (one is mercenary to marry for money) because money is foreign to the desires that ought to accompany love. By contrast, victory is a natural reward for battle. It is a proper reward because it is not tacked onto the activity for which the reward is given, but rather victory is the consummation of and intrinsically related to the activity itself.

According to Lewis, the desire for heaven and rewards is a natural desire expressing what we, by nature, are. We were made to desire honor before God, to be in his presence, and to hunger to enjoy the rewards he will offer us and these things are the natural consummations of our activity on earth. Thus, the appropriateness of seeking heaven and rewards derives from the fact that these results are genuine expressions of our natures and are the natural consummation of our activities for God. By contrast, according to ethical egoism, the value of results has nothing to do with our natures or with natural consummations of activities. Rather, the worth of those outcomes is solely a function of the fact that they benefit the agent himself.

In sum, self-interest is part of biblical teaching, especially in association with rewards and punishments. But ethical egoism neither captures adequately the nature of biblical self-interest nor is it the best normative ethical theory in its own right. As Christians, we should include self-interest as an important part of our moral and religious lives but without advocating ethical egoism in the process.

With degrees in philosophy, theology and chemisty, Dr. Moreland brings erudition, passion, and his distinctive ebullience to the end of loving God with all of one’s mind. Moreland received his B.S. in Chemistry (with honors) from the University of Missouri, his M.A. in Philosophy (with highest honors) from the University of California, Riverside, his Th.M. in Theology (with honors) from Dallas Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California. Dr. Moreland has taught theology and philosophy at several schools throughout the U.S. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology.

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Jun 242016

Alternative title: betting

Gambling, slot machinePcb21the betting or staking of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident or have an unexpected result by reason of the bettors miscalculation.

The outcomes of gambling games may be determined by chance alone, as in the purely random activity of a tossed pair of dice or of the ball on a roulette wheel, or by physical skill, training, or prowess in athletic contests, or by a combination of strategy and chance. The rules by which gambling games are played sometimes serve to confuse the relationship between the components of the game, which depend on skill and chance, so that some players may be able to manipulate the game to serve their own interests. Thus, knowledge of the game is useful for playing poker or betting on horse racing but is of very little use for purchasing lottery tickets or playing slot machines.

A gambler may participate in the game itself while betting on its outcome (card games, craps), or he may be prevented from any active participation in an event in which he has a stake (professional athletics, lotteries). Some games are dull or nearly meaningless without the accompanying betting activity and are rarely played unless wagering occurs (coin tossing, poker, dice games, lotteries). In other games betting is not intrinsically part of the game, and the association is merely conventional and not necessary to the performance of the game itself (horse racing, football pools). Commercial establishments such as casinos and racetracks may organize gambling when a portion of the money wagered by patrons can be easily acquired by participation as a favoured party in the game, by rental of space, or by withdrawing a portion of the betting pool. Some activities of very large scale (horse racing, lotteries) usually require commercial and professional organizations to present and maintain them efficiently.

A rough estimate of the amount of money legally wagered annually in the world is about $10 trillion (illegal gambling may exceed even this figure). In terms of total turnover, lotteries are the leading form of gambling worldwide. State-licensed or state-operated lotteries expanded rapidly in Europe and the United States during the late 20th century and are widely distributed throughout most of the world. Organized football (soccer) pools can be found in nearly all European countries, several South American countries, Australia, and a few African and Asian countries. Most of these countries also offer either state-organized or state-licensed wagering on other sporting events.

Betting on horse racing is a leading form of gambling in English-speaking countries and in France. It also exists in many other countries. Wherever horse racing is popular, it has usually become a major business, with its own newspapers and other periodicals, extensive statistical services, self-styled experts who sell advice on how to bet, and sophisticated communication networks that furnish information to betting centres, bookmakers and their employees, and workers involved with the care and breeding of horses. The same is true, to a smaller extent, of dog racing. The emergence of satellite broadcasting technology has led to the creation of so-called off-track betting facilities, in which bettors watch live telecasts at locations away from the racetrack.

Casinos or gambling houses have existed at least since the 17th century. In the 20th century they became commonplace and assumed almost a uniform character throughout the world. In Europe and South America they are permitted at many or most holiday resorts but not always in cities. In the United States casinos were for many years legal only in Nevada and New Jersey and, by special license, in Puerto Rico, but most other states now allow casino gambling, and betting facilities operate clandestinely throughout the country, often through corruption of political authorities. Roulette is one of the principal gambling games in casinos throughout France and Monaco and is popular throughout the world. Craps is the principal dice game at most American casinos. Slot and video poker machines are a mainstay of casinos in the United States and Europe and also are found in thousands of private clubs, restaurants, and other establishments; they are also common in Australia. Among the card games played at casinos, baccarat, in its popular form chemin de fer, has remained a principal gambling game in Great Britain and in the continental casinos most often patronized by the English at Deauville, Biarritz, and the Riviera resorts. Faro, at one time the principal gambling game in the United States, has become obsolete. Blackjack is the principal card game in American casinos. The French card game trente et quarante (or rouge et noir) is played at Monte-Carlo and a few other continental casinos. Many other games may also be found in some casinosfor example, sic bo, fan-tan, and pai-gow poker in Asia and local games such as boule, banca francesa, and kalooki in Europe.

At the start of the 21st century, poker exploded in popularity, principally through the high visibility of poker tournaments broadcast on television and the proliferation of Internet playing venues. Another growing form of Internet gambling is the so-called betting exchangesInternet Web sites on which players make wagers with one another, with the Web site taking a small cut of each wager in exchange for organizing and handling the transaction.

In a wide sense of the word, stock markets may also be considered a form of gambling, albeit one in which skill and knowledge on the part of the bettors play a considerable part. This also goes for insurance; paying the premium on ones life insurance is, in effect, a bet that one will die within a specified time. If one wins (dies), the win is paid out to ones relatives, and if one loses (survives the specified time), the wager (premium) is kept by the insurance company, which acts as a bookmaker and sets the odds (payout ratios) according to actuarial data. These two forms of gambling are considered beneficial to society, the former acquiring venture capital and the latter spreading statistical risks.

Events or outcomes that are equally probable have an equal chance of occurring in each instance. In games of pure chance, each instance is a completely independent one; that is, each play has the same probability as each of the others of producing a given outcome. Probability statements apply in practice to a long series of events but not to individual ones. The law of large numbers is an expression of the fact that the ratios predicted by probability statements are increasingly accurate as the number of events increases, but the absolute number of outcomes of a particular type departs from expectation with increasing frequency as the number of repetitions increases. It is the ratios that are accurately predictable, not the individual events or precise totals.

The probability of a favourable outcome among all possibilities can be expressed: probability (p) equals the total number of favourable outcomes (f) divided by the total number of possibilities (t), or p=f/t. But this holds only in situations governed by chance alone. In a game of tossing two dice, for example, the total number of possible outcomes is 36 (each of six sides of one die combined with each of six sides of the other), and the number of ways to make, say, a seven is six (made by throwing 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4, 4 and 3, 5 and 2, or 6 and 1); therefore, the probability of throwing a seven is 6/36, or 1/6.

In most gambling games it is customary to express the idea of probability in terms of odds against winning. This is simply the ratio of the unfavourable possibilities to the favourable ones. Because the probability of throwing a seven is 1/6, on average one throw in six would be favourable and five would not; the odds against throwing a seven are therefore 5 to 1. The probability of getting heads in a toss of a coin is 1/2; the odds are 1 to 1, called even. Care must be used in interpreting the phrase on average, which applies most accurately to a large number of cases and is not useful in individual instances. A common gamblers fallacy, called the doctrine of the maturity of the chances (or the Monte-Carlo fallacy), falsely assumes that each play in a game of chance is dependent on the others and that a series of outcomes of one sort should be balanced in the short run by the other possibilities. A number of systems have been invented by gamblers largely on the basis of this fallacy; casino operators are happy to encourage the use of such systems and to exploit any gamblers neglect of the strict rules of probability and independent plays. An interesting example of a game where each play is dependent on previous plays, however, is blackjack, where cards already dealt from the dealing shoe affect the composition of the remaining cards; for example, if all of the aces (worth 1 or 11 points) have been dealt, it is no longer possible to achieve a natural (a 21 with two cards). This fact forms the basis for some systems where it is possible to overcome the house advantage.

In some games an advantage may go to the dealer, the banker (the individual who collects and redistributes the stakes), or some other participant. Therefore, not all players have equal chances to win or equal payoffs. This inequality may be corrected by rotating the players among the positions in the game. Commercial gambling operators, however, usually make their profits by regularly occupying an advantaged position as the dealer, or they may charge money for the opportunity to play or subtract a proportion of money from the wagers on each play. In the dice game of crapswhich is among the major casino games offering the gambler the most favourable oddsthe casino returns to winners from 3/5 of 1 percent to 27 percent less than the fair odds, depending on the type of bet made. Depending on the bet, the house advantage (vigorish) for roulette in American casinos varies from about 5.26 to 7.89 percent, and in European casinos it varies from 1.35 to 2.7 percent. The house must always win in the long run. Some casinos also add rules that enhance their profits, especially rules that limit the amounts that may be staked under certain circumstances.

Many gambling games include elements of physical skill or strategy as well as of chance. The game of poker, like most other card games, is a mixture of chance and strategy that also involves a considerable amount of psychology. Betting on horse racing or athletic contests involves the assessment of a contestants physical capacity and the use of other evaluative skills. In order to ensure that chance is allowed to play a major role in determining the outcomes of such games, weights, handicaps, or other correctives may be introduced in certain cases to give the contestants approximately equal opportunities to win, and adjustments may be made in the payoffs so that the probabilities of success and the magnitudes of the payoffs are put in inverse proportion to each other. Pari-mutuel pools in horse-race betting, for example, reflect the chances of various horses to win as anticipated by the players. The individual payoffs are large for those bettors whose winning horses are backed by relatively few bettors and small if the winners are backed by a relatively large proportion of the bettors; the more popular the choice, the lower the individual payoff. The same holds true for betting with bookmakers on athletic contests (illegal in most of the United States but legal in England). Bookmakers ordinarily accept bets on the outcome of what is regarded as an uneven match by requiring the side more likely to win to score more than a simple majority of points; this procedure is known as setting a point spread. In a game of American or Canadian football, for example, the more highly regarded team would have to win by, say, more than 10 points to yield an even payoff to its backers.

Unhappily, these procedures for maintaining the influence of chance can be interfered with; cheating is possible and reasonably easy in most gambling games. Much of the stigma attached to gambling has resulted from the dishonesty of some of its promoters and players, and a large proportion of modern gambling legislation is written to control cheating. More laws have been oriented to efforts by governments to derive tax revenues from gambling than to control cheating, however.

Gambling is one of mankinds oldest activities, as evidenced by writings and equipment found in tombs and other places. It was regulated, which as a rule meant severely curtailed, in the laws of ancient China and Rome as well as in the Jewish Talmud and by Islam and Buddhism, and in ancient Egypt inveterate gamblers could be sentenced to forced labour in the quarries. The origin of gambling is considered to be divinatory: by casting marked sticks and other objects and interpreting the outcome, man sought knowledge of the future and the intentions of the gods. From this it was a very short step to betting on the outcome of the throws. The Bible contains many references to the casting of lots to divide property. One well-known instance is the casting of lots by Roman guards (which in all likelihood meant that they threw knucklebones) for the garment of Jesus during the Crucifixion. This is mentioned in all four of the Gospels and has been used for centuries as a warning example by antigambling crusaders. However, in ancient times casting lots was not considered to be gambling in the modern sense but instead was connected with inevitable destiny, or fate. Anthropologists have also pointed to the fact that gambling is more prevalent in societies where there is a widespread belief in gods and spirits whose benevolence may be sought. The casting of lots, not infrequently dice, has been used in many cultures to dispense justice and point out criminals at trialsin Sweden as late as 1803. The Greek word for justice, dike, comes from a word that means to throw, in the sense of throwing dice.

European history is riddled with edicts, decrees, and encyclicals banning and condemning gambling, which indirectly testify to its popularity in all strata of society. Organized gambling on a larger scale and sanctioned by governments and other authorities in order to raise money began in the 15th century with lotteriesand centuries earlier in China with keno. With the advent of legal gambling houses in the 17th century, mathematicians began to take a serious interest in games with randomizing equipment (such as dice and cards), out of which grew the field of probability theory.

Apart from forerunners in ancient Rome and Greece, organized sanctioned sports betting dates back to the late 18th century. About that time there began a gradual, albeit irregular, shift in the official attitude toward gambling, from considering it a sin to considering it a vice and a human weakness and, finally, to seeing it as a mostly harmless and even entertaining activity. Additionally, the Internet has made many forms of gambling accessible on an unheard-of scale. By the beginning of the 21st century, approximately four out of five people in Western nations gambled at least occasionally. The swelling number of gamblers in the 20th century highlighted the personal and social problem of pathological gambling, in which individuals are unable to control or limit their gambling. During the 1980s and 90s, pathological gambling was recognized by medical authorities in several countries as a cognitive disorder that afflicts slightly more than 1 percent of the population, and various treatment and therapy programs were developed to deal with the problem.

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Our MPs | Liberal Party of Canada

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Jun 242016

Justin Trudeau is the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Justin was first elected to Parliament in the Montreal riding of Papineau in 2008, defying political insiders who believed that a federalist candidate would have little chance against an incumbent member of the Bloc Qubcois. For Justin, the people of Papineau 50 percent of whom speak neither French nor English as their mother tongue exemplify Canadas rich diversity, evolving identity, and the struggle for equality of opportunity. He has served the hard working middle class families and small businesses of his constituency, who, in recent years, have faced economic challenges. He has worked alongside local community organisations by bringing together different cultures and religions, and establishing local initiatives on social issues, the environment, and the arts.

As a Member of Parliament, Justin has had many responsibilities including the Liberal Party Critic for Youth, Post-Secondary Education, Amateur Sports, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship and Immigration. Furthermore, he previously sat on the Parliamentary Committees on Environment and Sustainable Development and Citizenship and Immigration.

As a Parliamentarian, and prior to that, Justin travelled the country and met with Canadians in every region, consistently speaking about shared values, the importance of youth empowerment, protecting our wilderness, and living up to our place in the world. Some of Justins proudest accomplishments include his advocacy for victims of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, his activism to protect the Nahanni river in the Northwest Territories in 2005 and holding the post of chair of Katimavik, Canadas national youth service program, from 2002 to 2006.

At the heart of Justins professional achievements whether as a math and French teacher in British Columbia, or his leadership role in Katimavik, or even his strong defense of Quebec as a Member of Parliament is a deep respect for Canadians from coast to coast to coast and his desire to serve them.

On April 14, 2013, Justin was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in the most open and accessible leadership election in Canadian history, in which tens of thousands of Canadians participated.

Justin has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. He was born on December 25, 1971, the eldest son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper. Justin is married to Sophie Grgoire. The couple welcomed their first child, Xavier James Trudeau on October 18, 2007 and added to their family with the arrival of Ella-Grace Trudeau on February 5, 2009, and Hadrien Trudeau on February 28, 2014.

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The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …
Jun 242016

In 1803 a distinguished Virginia jurist named St. George Tucker published the first extended analysis and commentary on the recently adopted U.S. Constitution. Though it is mostly forgotten today, Tucker’s View of the Constitution of the United States was a major work in its time. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, generations of lawyers and scholars would reach for Tucker’s View as a go-to constitutional law textbook.

I was reminded of Tucker’s dusty tome in recent days after reading one liberal pundit after another smugly assert that the original meaning of the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, for example, denounced the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment as a “a hoax” peddled in recent years by the conniving National Rifle Association. Likewise, Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson complained that “the NRA’s politicking has warped the Constitution itself” by tricking the Supreme Court into “recast[ing] the Second Amendment as a guarantee of individual gun rights.”

Old St. George Tucker never encountered any “politicking” by the NRA. A veteran of the Revolutionary war and a one-time colleague of James Madison, Tucker watched in real time as Americans publicly debated whether or to ratify the Constitution, and then watched again as Americans debated whether or not to amend the Constitution by adopting the Bill of Rights. Afterwards Tucker sat down and wrote the country’s first major constitutional treatise. And as far Tucker was concerned, there was simply no doubt that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to arms. “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty,” Tucker wrote of the Second Amendment. “The right of self-defense is the first law of nature.”

The individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment was widely held during the founding era. How do we know this? Because the historical evidence overwhelmingly points in that direction. For example, consider the historical context in which the Second Amendment was first adopted.

When the Constitution was ratified in 1789 it lacked the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments came along a few years later, added to the Constitution in response to objections made during ratification by the Anti-Federalists, who wanted to see some explicit protections added in order to safeguard key individual rights. As the pseudonymous Anti-Federalist pamphleteer “John DeWitt” put it, “the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system, is a solid objection to it.”

Library of CongressJames Madison, the primary architect of the new Constitution, took seriously such Anti-Federalist objections. “The great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution],” Madison told Congress in 1789, “dislike it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights.” To remove such objections, Madison said, supporters of the Constitution should compromise and agree to include “such amendments in the constitution as will secure those rights, which [the Anti-Federalists] consider as not sufficiently guarded.” Madison then proposed the batch of amendments that would eventually become the Bill of Rights.

What “particular rights” did the Anti-Federalists consider to be “not sufficiently guarded” by the new Constitution? One right that the Anti-Federalists brought up again and again was the individual right to arms.

For example, Anti-Federalists at the New Hampshire ratification convention wanted it made clear that, “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.” Anti-Federalists at the Massachusetts ratification convention wanted the Constitution to “be never construed…to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable, from keeping their own arms.”

Meanwhile, in the Anti-Federalist stronghold of Pennsylvania, critics at that state’s ratification convention wanted the Constitution to declare, “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.”

One of the central purposes of the Second Amendment was to mollify such concerns by enshrining the individual right to arms squarely within the text of the Constitution. Just as the First Amendment was added to address fears of government censorship, the Second Amendment was added to address fears about government bans on private gun ownership.

Like it or not, the idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right is as old as the Second Amendment itself.

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Bronze Age collapse – Simple English Wikipedia, the free …

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Jun 192016

The Bronze Age collapse is so called by historians who study the end of the Bronze Age.

They see the transition in the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean from the late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age, as violent, sudden and culturally disruptive.

The palace economies of the Aegean and Anatolia of the late Bronze Age were replaced, eventually, by the village cultures of the ‘Greek dark ages’.

Between 1200 and 1150 BC, the cultural collapse of the Mycenaean kingdoms, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia and Syria,[1] and the Egyptian Empire in Syria and Canaan,[2] interrupted trade routes and extinguished literacy.

In the first phase of this period, almost every city between Troy and Gaza was violently destroyed, and often left unoccupied: examples include Hattusa, Mycenae, Ugarit.

The gradual end of the Dark Age saw the rise of settled Neo-Hittite Aramaean kingdoms of the mid-10th century BC, and the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Every important Anatolian site during the preceding late Bronze Age shows a destruction layer.[3] It appears that civilization did not recover to the same level as that of the Hittites for another thousand years. Hattusa, the Hittite capital, was burned and abandoned, and never reoccupied. Troy was destroyed at least twice, before being abandoned until Roman times.

The sacking and burning of the sites of Enkomi, Kition, and Sinda may have happened twice, before they were abandoned. Originally, two waves of destruction, ca. 1230 BC by the Sea Peoples and ca. 1190 BC by Aegean refugees have been proposed.[4]

Syrian sites previously showed evidence of trade links with Egypt and the Aegean in the Late Bronze Age. Evidence at Ugarit shows that the destruction there occurred after the reign of Merenptah.

The last Bronze Age king of Ugarit, Ammurapi, was a contemporary of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma II. The exact dates of his reign are unknown. A letter by the king is preserved on one of the clay tablets found baked in the conflagration of the destruction of the city. Ammurapi stresses the seriousness of the crisis faced by many Near Eastern states from invasion by the advancing Sea Peoples in a dramatic response to a plea for assistance from the king of Alasiya (Cyprus):

My father, behold, the enemy’s ships came (here); my cities(?) were burned, and they did evil things in my country. Does not my father know that all my troops and chariots(?) are in the Land of Hatti, and all my ships are in the Land of Lukka?…Thus, the country is abandoned to itself. May my father know it: the seven ships of the enemy that came here inflicted much damage upon us.[5]

Unfortunately for Ugarit, no help arrived and Ugarit was burned to the ground at the end of the Bronze Age. A cuneiform tablet found in 1986 shows that Ugarit was destroyed after the death of Merneptah, about 1178 BC.

All centres along a coastal route from Gaza northward were destroyed, and not reoccupied for up to thirty years.

None of the Mycenaean palaces of the Late Bronze Age survived, with destruction being heaviest at palaces and fortified sites. Up to 90% of small sites in the Peloponnese were abandoned, suggesting a major depopulation. The end Bronze Age collapse marked the start of what has been called the Greek Dark Ages, which lasted for more than 400 years. Some cities, like Athens, continued to be occupied. They had a more local sphere of influence, limited trade and an impoverished culture. It took centuries to recover.

Several cities were destroyed, Assyria lost northwestern cities which were reconquered by Tiglath-Pileser I after his ascension to kingship. Control of the Babylonian and Assyrian regions extended barely beyond the city limits. Babylon was sacked by the Elamites.

After apparently surviving for a while, the Egyptian Empire collapsed in the mid twelfth century BCE (during the reign of Ramesses VI). This led to the Third Intermediate Period, that is, non-dynasty.

Robert Drews describes the collapse as “the worst disaster in ancient history, even more calamitous than the collapse of the Western Roman Empire”.[6] A number of people have spoken of the cultural memories of the disaster as stories of a “lost golden age”. Hesiod for example spoke of Ages of Gold, Silver and Bronze, separated from the modern harsh cruel world of the Age of Iron by the Age of Heroes.

It was a period associated with the collapse of central authority, a depopulation, particularly of urban areas, the loss of literacy in Anatolia and the Aegean, and its restriction elsewhere, the disappearance of established patterns of long-distance international trade, and increasingly vicious struggles for power.

There are various theories put forward to explain the situation of collapse, many of them compatible with each other.

The Hekla 3 eruption was about this time, and is dated at 1159 BC by Egyptologists and British archeologists.[7][8]

Earthquakes tend to occur in sequences or ‘storms’, where a major earthquake above 6.5 on the Richter magnitude scale can set off later earthquakes along the weakened fault line. When a map of earthquake occurrence is superimposed on a map of the sites destroyed in the Late Bronze Age, there is a very close correspondence.[9]

Evidence includes the widespread findings of Naue II-type swords (coming from South-Eastern Europe) throughout the region, and Egyptian records of invading “northerners from all the lands”.[10] The Ugarit correspondence at the time mentions invasions by tribes of such as the mysterious Sea Peoples. Equally, the last Linear B documents in the Aegean (dating to just before the collapse) reported a large rise in piracy, slave raiding and other attacks, particularly around Anatolia. Later fortresses along the Libyan coast, constructed and maintained by the Egyptians after the reign of Ramesses II, were built to reduce raiding.

This theory is strengthened by the fact that the collapse coincides with the appearance in the region of many new ethnic groups. Indo-European tribes such as the Phrygians, Thracians, Macedonians and Dorian Greeks seem to have arrived at this time possibly from the north. There also seems to have been widespread migration of the Aramaeans possibly from the South-East.

Ultimate reasons for these migrations could include drought, developments in warfare/weaponry, earthquakes or other natural disasters. This means that the migrations theory is not incompatible with the other theories mentioned here.

The Bronze Age collapse may be seen in the context of a technological history that saw the slow, comparatively continuous spread of iron-working technology in the region, beginning with precocious iron-working in what is now Bulgaria and Romania in the 13th and 12th centuries BCE.[11] Leonard R. Palmer suggested that iron, whilst inferior to bronze weapons, was in more plentiful supply and so allowed larger armies of iron users to overwhelm the smaller armies of bronze-using chariotry.[12]

It now seems that the disruption of long distance trade cut easy supplies of tin, making bronze impossible to make. Older implements were recycled and then iron substitutes were used.

Drought could have easily precipitated or hastened socio-economic problems and led to wars.[13][14] More recently Brian Fagan has shown how the diversion of mid-winter storms, from the Atlantic to north of the Pyrenees and the Alps, bringing wetter conditions to Central Europe but drought to the Eastern Mediterranean, was associated with the Late Bronze Age collapse.[15]

Robert Drews argues that massed infantry used newly developed weapons and armor.[16]192ff Cast rather than forged spearheads and long swords, a revolutionizing cut-and-thrust weapon,[17] and javelins were used. The appearance of bronze foundries suggest “that mass production of bronze artifacts was suddenly important in the Aegean”. For example, Homer uses “spears” as a virtual synonym for “warrior”, suggesting the continued importance of the spear in combat.

Such new weaponry, used by a proto-hoplite model of infantry able to withstand attacks of massed chariotry, would destabilize states that were based upon the use of chariots by the ruling class. This precipitated an abrupt social collapse as raiders and/or infantry mercenaries began to conquer, loot, and burn the cities.[16][18][19]

A general systems collapse has been put forward as an explanation for the reversals in culture.[20][21] This theory raises the question of whether this collapse was the cause of, or the effect of, the Bronze Age collapse being discussed.

In the Middle East, a variety of factors including population growth, soil degradation, drought, cast bronze weapon and iron production technologies could have combined to push the relative price of weaponry (compared to arable land) to a level unsustainable for traditional warrior aristocracies. In complex societies which were increasingly fragile, this combination of factors may have contributed to the collapse.[22]

The critical flaws of the late Bronze Age are its centralization, specialization, complexity and top-heavy political structure. These flaws then revealed themselves through revolts, defections, demographic crises (overpopulation), and wars between states. Other factors which could have placed increasing pressure on the fragile kingdoms. These include the aggression of the Sea Peoples, pirates on maritime trade, drought, crop failures, famine.

See the article here:

Bronze Age collapse – Simple English Wikipedia, the free …

Wage-Slavery and Republican Liberty | Jacobin

 Wage Slavery  Comments Off on Wage-Slavery and Republican Liberty | Jacobin
Jun 192016

Generations of workers critiqued wage-labor in the name of republican liberty.

In a recent interview, historian Quentin Skinner had the following to say about Karl Marx and the republican theory of liberty. The republican or neo-Roman theory says that we are unfree when we are subject to another persons will:

I am very struck by the extent to which Marx deploys, in his own way, a neo-Roman political vocabulary. He talks about wage slaves, and he talks about the dictatorship of the proletariat. He insists that, if you are free only to sell your labour, then you are not free at all. He stigmatises capitalism as a form of servitude. These are all recognizably neo-Roman moral commitments.

Skinner also says that this is a question which would bear a great deal more investigation than it has received.

I have been engaging in some of this investigation. It is not just Marx or even primarily Marx who believed that the neo-roman theory of freedom leads directly to a critique of wage-slavery. As early as the late 1820s, urban workers seized on the inherited republicanism of the American Revolution and applied it to the wage-labor relationship. They organized themselves city-by-city into the first self-conscious political parties of labor and their main campaign was against wage-slavery.

They argued that the wealthy keep us in a state of humble dependence through their monopoly control of the means of production. As Thomas Skidmore, founder of the Workingmens Party of New York, put it:

thousands of our people of the present day in deep distress and poverty, dependent for their daily subsistence upon a few among us whom the unnatural operation of our own free and republican institutions, as we are pleased to call them, has thus arbitrarily and barbarously made enormously rich.

Their humble dependence meant that they had no choice but to sell their labor to some employer or another. Their only chance of leading a decent life was if some employer would give them a job. Though formally free, these workers were nonetheless economically dependent and thus unfree. That is why they saw themselves as denied their rightful republican liberty, and why wage-labor merited the name slavery. Skidmore made the comparison with classical slavery the most explicit:

For he, in all countries is a slave, who must work more for another than that other must work for him. It does not matter how this state of things is brought about; whether the sword of victory hew down the liberty of the captive, and thus compel him to labor for his conqueror, or whether the sword of want extort our consent, as it were, to a voluntary slavery, through a denial to us of the materials of nature

The critique of wage-slavery in the name of republican liberty could hardly be clearer.

Given their analysis of wage-labor, these artisan republicans were inexorably led to radical conclusions about the conditions that could restore workers their full independence. Every leading figure of these early workingmens parties made some form of the argument that the principles of equal distribution [of property be] everywhere adopted or that it was necessary to equalize property. Here, the property to be equally distributed was clearly means of production. And it was to be distributed not just in the form of land, but cooperative control over factories and other implements.

For instance, the major report articulating the principles of the Workingmens Party of New York included the demand for AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF PROPERTY ON ARRIVING AT THE AGE OF MATURITY. Only with control over this kind of property could workers structural dependence on owners be eliminated. For these Workies following out the logic of the republican theory led not to a nostalgic, agrarian idealism, but to the view that each persons independence depended upon everyone possessing equal and collective control of productive resources. Even more striking, they argued that the only way to achieve this condition of independence was through the joint political efforts of the dependent or enslaved class.

As Langdon Byllesby, one of the earliest of these worker republicans, wrote, history does not furnish an instance wherein the depository of power voluntarily abrogated its prerogative, or the oppressor relinquished his advantages in favour of the oppressed. It was up to the dependent classes, through the agency of their workingmens parties, to realize a cooperative commonwealth.

There is an important historical connection between these radical artisans and Marx. As Maximilen Rubel and Lewis Feuer have shown, just at the time that Marx turned from Hegelian philosophy to political economy, in 18412, he began to read comparative political history. He was particularly interested in the American republic, and read three main sources: Beaumont, Tocqueville, and a less well-known Englishman, Thomas Hamilton. Hamilton was a former colonel who wrote his own, very popular observation of his time traveling in the United States called Men and Manners in America, published in 1833. For Marx, Hamilton was the best source of the three because Hamilton, unlike the Frenchmen, actually met with and spoke to leaders of the Workingmans Party of New York. That section of Hamiltons travelogue includes ominous references to the Extreme Gauche of the Workies who wish to introduce an AGRARIAN LAW, and a periodical division of property, and includes gloomy reflections on the coming anarchy and despoliation. It is these very sections of Hamilton that Marx copied into his notebooks during this period of preparatory study.

Unbeknown to Marx, he was copying a copy. In those sections of Men and Manners Hamilton had essentially transcribed parts of Thomas Skidmores report to the Workingmens Party of New York, which were a distillation of the ideas that could be found in Skidmores lengthy The Rights of Man to Property! Skidmores book included the argument that property rights were invalid if they were used to make the poor economically dependent, allowing owners to live in idleness, partial or total, thus supporting himself, more or less, on the labors of others.

If property rights were illegitimate the minute they were used to make some dependent on others then it was clear all freedom-loving citizens were justified in transforming property relations in the name of republican liberty. This was why Skidmore proposed the radical demand that the workers APPROPRIATE ALSO, in the same way, THE COTTON FACTORIES, THE WOOLEN FACTORIES, THE IRON FOUNDERIES, THE ROLLING MILLS, HOUSES, CHURCHES, SHIPS, GOODS, STEAM-BOATS, FIELDS OF AGRICULTURE, &c. &c. &c. in manner as proposed in this work, AND AS IS THEIR RIGHT. The manner proposed for this expropriation of the expropriators was not violent revolution but a state constitutional convention in which all property would be nationalized and then redistributed in shares of equal value to be used to form cooperatives or buy land.

Marx never knew these labor republicans by name, nor any of their primary writings, but it is clear from his notebooks that their ideas and political self-organization contributed to his early thinking, especially at the moment at which he was formulating his view of workers as the universal class. Indeed, in On the Jewish Question, Beaumont, Tocqueville and the Englishman Hamiltons accounts of the United States feature heavily in Marxs discussion of America. It is there that Marx makes the famous distinction between political and human emancipation, arguing that the American republic shows us most clearly the distinction between the two. This was almost exactly the same distinction that the Workies made when saying, as Philadelphian Samuel Simpson did, the consequence now is, that while the government is republican, society in its general features, is as regal as it is in England. A republican theory of wage-slavery was developed well before Marx (see here for evidence of similar developments in France that were also very likely to have influenced Marx).

In the United States, the republican critique of wage-labor went into abeyance for a time after the 1840s, or more appropriately, it was absorbed into the agrarian socialism of the National Reform Association a tale masterfully told by the historian Mark Lause in Young America: Land, Labor and Republican Community. But labor republicanism exploded back onto the political scene in the United States after the Civil War, especially with leading figures around the Knights of Labor and the eight-hour movement. The Knights were for a time one of the most powerful organizations in the country, organized skilled and unskilled labor together, and at their peak included more than 700,000official members, probably representing more than 1 million participating workers. The Knights used the republican concept of liberty to assert the universal interests of labor and to argue for the transformation of American society. George McNeill, a leading Knight, wrote that There is an inevitable and irresistible conflict between the wage-system of labor and the republican system of government. Ira Steward, most famous as an eight-hour campaigner, demanded a a republicanization of labor, as well as a republicanization of government.

These turns of phrase were more than rhetorical gestures. They were self-conscious appeals to the republican theory. Indeed the Journal of United Labor even reproduced a famous passage on slavery from Algernon Sidneys Discourses on Government in order to articulate why wage-labor was a form of servitude. The passage goes:

Slavery. The weight of chains, number of stripes, hardness of labor, and other effects of a masters cruelty, may make one servitude more miserable than another; but he is a slave who serves the gentlest man in the world, as well as he who serves the worst; and he does serve him if he must obey his commands and depend upon his will.

This passage, and Sidneys writings, have played a major role in contemporary scholarship on early modern republicanism, and here it is deployed to critique not the political enslavement to a monarch but wage-slavery.

In fact, the labor republicans not only drew on the republican theory but further developed it in light of the new dynamics of industrial capitalism. They noted that there were two interconnected forms of dependence. One was the general or structural dependence of the wage-laborer on employers, defined by the fact that the monopoly of control over productive property by some left the rest dependent upon those owners for their livelihoods. This, as George McNeil put it, meant that workers assent but they do not consent, they submit but do not agree.

The voluntaristic language here was meant to capture how, thought the workers were not literally slaves, they were nonetheless compelled to work for others. As Skinner has shown in his book on Hobbes, it is precisely this conflation of voluntaristic action and freedom that modern republicans have always rejected, and which their enemies, like Hobbes, have regularly defended. Though here, the workers dependence was not a feature so much of being the legal property of another as it was being forced, by economic need, to sell his labor:

when a man is placed in a position where he is compelled to give the benefit of his labor to another, he is in a condition of slavery, whether the slave is held in chattel bondage or in wages bondage, he is equally a slave.

Emancipation may have eliminated chattel slavery, but, as eight-hour campaigner Ira Steward once put it, the creation of this new form of economic dependence meant something of slavery still remainssomething of freedom is yet to come.

According to labor republicans, the structural dependence of the wage-laborer was translated, through the labor contract, to a more personal form of servitude to the employer. After all, the contract was an agreement of obedience in exchange for wages. It was an agreement to alienate control over ones own activity in exchange for the privilege of having enough money to buy necessities, and perhaps a few luxuries. Indeed, even if the wages were fairly high, the point of the contract was to become subject to the will of a specific owner or his manager. As one anonymous author put it, in the Journal of United Labor, Is there a workshop where obedience is not demanded not to the difficulties or qualities of the labor to be performed but to the caprice of he who pays the wages of his servants? As nearly every scholar of republican thought has noted, the language of being subject to the caprice of another is one of the most enduring rhetorical tropes of the neo-Roman theory of freedom. It is no accident that it would feature so heavily in labor republican arguments about domination in the workplace.

It was for this reason that the Knights of Labor believed that the only way to republicanize labor was to abolish as rapidly as possible, the wage system, substituting co-operation therefore. The point about a cooperative system was that property was collectively owned and work cooperatively managed. Only when the class differences between owners and workers were removed could republican liberty be truly universalized. It would, at once, remove the structural and personal dependence of workers.

As William H. Silvis, one of the earliest of these figures, argued, cooperation renders the workman independent of necessities which often compel him to submit to hectoring, domineering, and insults of every kind. What clearer statement could there be of the connection between the republican theory of liberty, economic dependence, and the modern wage-system? Here was a series of arguments that flowed naturally from the principles of the American Revolution.

To demand that there is to be a people in industry, as in government was simply to argue that the cooperative commonwealth was nothing more than the culmination and completion of the American Revolutions republican aspirations.

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Libertarianism and White Racial Nationalism | The …

 Libertarianism  Comments Off on Libertarianism and White Racial Nationalism | The …
Jun 192016

Greg Johnson, the previous editor of TOQ, had the wonderful idea for an issue on how Libertarianism intersects with issues of White racial nationalism. The topic is an important one. Unlike explicit assertions of White identity and interests, libertarianism is considered part of the conservative mainstream. It doesnt ruffle the feathers of the multicultural powers that be. Indeed, as discussed in several of the articles hereparticularly the article by Simon Krejsa, libertarianism is an ideology of national dissolution that would greatly exacerbate problems resulting from immigration.

IGNORING THE REAL WORLD: LIBERTARIANISM AS UTOPIAN METAPHYSICS Several prominent libertarians have advocated open borders except for immigrants clearly intent on violating personal or property rights. As Krejsa notes, libertarians ignore the reality that the peoples crowding our shores often have powerful ethnic ties and that they are typically organized in well-funded, aggressive ethnic organizations. These ethnic organizations have a vital interest in a strong central government able to further their interests in a wide range of areas, from welfare benefits to foreign policy. In other words, they act far more as a corporate entity than as a set of isolated individuals. Further, the immigration policy advocated by Libertarians ignores the reality of racial and ethnic differences in a broad spectrum of traits critical to success in contemporary societies, particularly IQ, criminality, and impulsivity. Social utility forms no part of the thinking of Libertarianism.

In reading these articles, one is struck by the fact that libertarianism is in the end a metaphysics. That is, it simply posits a minimal set of rights (to ownership of ones own body, ownership of private property, and the freedom to engage in contracts) and unflinchingly follows this proposition to its logical conclusion. The only purpose of government is to prohibit the physical invasion of anothers person or property. It is a utopian philosophy based on what ought to be rather than on a sober understanding of the way humans actually behave. Not surprisingly, as Simon Lote and Farnham OReilly point out, there have never been any pure libertarian societies. There are powerful reasons for that.

Indeed, libertarianism philosophy reminds me of Kants categorical imperative which states that one must Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. The imperative defines a conception of moral obligation, but it certainly does not follow that others will behave in a moral way. One would be naive indeed to suppose that a philosophy of moral obligations would make people nicer. Kant would never have said that we should arrange society on the supposition that people will behave in the ways that they are morally obligated.

Similarly, the libertarian idea that we should alter government as if the governed are an atomistic universe of individuals is oblivious to the fact that a great many people will continue to behave on the basis of their group identity, whether based on ethnicity or on a voluntary association like a corporation. They will continue to engage in networking (often with co-ethnics) and they will pursue policies aimed at advancing their self-interest as conditioned by group membership. If they have access to the media, they will craft media messages aimed at converting others to agree with their point of viewmessages that need not accurately portray the likely outcomes of policy choices. Media-powerful groups may also craft messages that take advantage of peoples natural proclivities for their own profit without regard to the weaknesses of othersa form of the unleashing of Darwinian competition discussed in the following.

This minimal list of human interests is grounded in neither theology nor natural science. A focus of Trudie Perts essay is the conflict between libertarian philosophy and traditional Catholic collectivism with its group-protecting function based on the concept of natural law. From the standpoint of evolutionary biology, a society engineered according to libertarian ideology would unleash a Darwinian struggle of competition between individuals and groups. Since, as Vitman Tanka notes, there is nothing in libertarian ideology to prevent voluntary associations, people in a libertarian society would naturally band together to advance their interests. Such groups would see their own interests as best satisfied by a strong government that is on their side.

The libertarian utopia would thus be chronically unstable. Indeed, Krejsa quotes Peter Brimelow who notes that a libertarian society with completely open borders would result in enormous pressures for powerful state control immigration as the Viagra of the state: Immigrants, above all immigrants who are racially and culturally distinct from the host population, are walking advertisements for social workers and government programs and the regulation of political speech that is to say, the repression of the entirely natural objections of the host population.

A libertarian utopia would also unleash exploitation of the weak and disorganized by the strong and well-organized. Both Pert and Krejsa point out that a libertarian society would result in violations of normative moral intuitions. For example, parents could sell their children into slavery. Such behavior would indeed be evolutionarily maladaptive, because as slaves their reproductive opportunities would be at the whim of their master. But such an option might appeal to some parents who value other things more than their children as the result of genetically or environmentally induced psychiatric impairment, manipulative media influence, or drug-induced stupor in a society lacking social controls on drugs.

Moreover, in the libertarian Eden, regulations on marriage and sexual behavior would disappear so that wealthy men would be able to have dozens of wives and concubines while many men would not have access to marriage. Sexual competition among males would therefore skyrocket.

In fact, the social imposition of monogamy in the West has had hugely beneficial consequences on the society as a whole, including greater investment in children and facilitating a low pressure demographic profile that resulted in cumulative investment and rising real wages over historical time. In other words, progress.

Admittedly, benefits to the society as a whole are of no concern to libertarians. But, from an evolutionary perspective, they ought to be. An evolutionary approach has the virtue of being solidly grounded in a science of human interests, both explicit and implicit, whereas Libertarianism relies on metaphysical assertions. The fact is that dysfunctional societies are ultimately non-viable and likely to be pushed aside by more functional groups. Without the economic expansion brought about by the social controls on sexual behavior, the West may well have not embarked on the expansion and colonization beginning in the 15th century. Ultimately, social controls on sexual behavior benefited the vast majority of Whites.

The same can be said of social controls on sexual behavior. Social support for high-investment parenting has always been a critical feature of Western social structure until the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Since then, all of the markers of family stability have headed south including divorce rates and births out of wedlock for all races and ethnic groups. (Nevertheless, there are very large differences between races and ethnic groups in conformity with J. Philippe Rushtons life history theory of race differences.) But this relative lack of social support for marriage has had very different effects depending on traits like IQ. For example, a well-known study in behavior genetics shows that the heritability of age of first sexual intercourse increased dramatically after the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. In other words, after the social supports for traditional sexuality disappeared, genetic influences became more important. Before the sexual revolution, traditional sexual mores applied to everyone. After the revolution, genes mattered more. People with higher IQ were able to produce stable families and marriages, but lower-IQ people were less prone to doing so. These trends have been exacerbated by the current economic climate.

The triumph of the culture of critique therefore resulted in a more libertarian climate for sexual behavior that tended to produce family pathology among people at the lower end of the bell curve for IQ, particularly an increase in low-investment parenting. This in turn is likely to have decreased the viability of the society as a whole.

COULD WHITE ADVOCACY BE THE OUTCOME OF VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS? It is interesting to consider whether a vibrant White advocacy movement could be the outcome of voluntary association in a society constructed along libertarian lines, as proposed by Tanka, who uses the Amish as an example. That is, Whites could come to realize that they have a natural interest in forming a voluntary association to advance their interests as Whites, much as Jews have done since the Enlightenment. (In traditional societies, Jewish groups were tightly controlled to prevent defection and cheating, i.e., engaging in acts such as undermining Jewish monopolies or informing on other Jews that were deemed harmful by the Jewish community as a whole. Traditional Jewish society was the antithesis of libertarianism.)

Such an outcome is theoretically possible but (like the rest of the libertarian wish list) would be unlikely to occur in the real world. In the real world, media-powerful groups and groups able to dominate prestigious academic institutions would indoctrinate people against identifying as Whites bent on pursuing White interests, as they do now. In the real world, there would be financial inducements to avoid White advocacy, including well-paid careers opposing White advocacy and economic consequences meted out by powerful voluntary associations, especially associations dominated by non-Whites hostile to White identity and interests also the case now. A White advocacy movement would therefore have a great deal of inertia to overcome.

And yet, voluntary association is the only way that a powerful White advocacy movement could develop. We are seeing the beginnings of such movements, especially in Europe with the rise of explicitly anti-Muslim and anti-immigration parties.

However, if a White-advocacy movement gains power, it would be foolish indeed to retain a libertarian political structure of minimal government. As noted by Farnham OReilly, the rights of the individual must remain subservient to the welfare of the group. If indeed White interests are worth defending, then furthering those interests must be the first priority. That would mean acting against media-powerful interests that produce messages countering White identity and acting against voluntary associations (such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League) that mete out economic penalties against Whites who identify as White and wish to pursue their interests as Whites. (It is noteworthy at of the nine authors of this issue of TOQ, seven use pseudonyms. The exceptions, Robert Griffin and I, both have tenure and thus have protected positions.)

Indeed, one might note that the greatest obstacle to the triumph of a White advocacy movement now is that current Western societies are organized along (imperfectly) libertarian lines. That is, the Western commitment to economic individualism (which allows vast concentrations of wealth by individuals) combined with the legitimacy of using that wealth to influence government policy, control media messages, and penalize White advocates, has allowed the creation of a semi-Darwinian world where very powerful interests have aligned themselves against White advocacy. This in turn is leading to natural selection against White people as they become overwhelmed demographically by non-Whites. In such a world, Whites, especially non-elite Whites, will eventually be at the mercy of hostile non-White groups with historical grudges against them a category that at the very least includes Jews, Blacks, and Mexicans. Again, there is no reason whatever to suppose that a society engineered along libertarianism lines would prevent associations based on ethnic/racial ties. The racialization of American politics in the semi-libertarian present is well advanced, with over 90% of Republican votes coming from Whites, and increasing percentages of Whites voting Republican.

LIBERTARIANISM FITS WITH THE EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY OF WHITES Nevertheless, having pointed to the pitfalls of libertarianism, it must be said that the individual freedom and liberty that are the hallmarks of libertarianism feel good to us Europeans, as emphasized by Simon Lote and Robert Griffin. All things equal, we would rather live in a society with minimal restraint on individual behavior.

(However, all things may not be equal, as Simon Krejsa points out, since the vast majority of Whites would prefer to live in a non-libertarian society that was predominantly White rather than a libertarian society that was predominantly Black. Race matters.)

In my view, individualism is an ethnic trait of Europeans the only group to have invented individualistic societies. (Ironically, for the reasons set out above, the semi-libertarian structure of contemporary Western societies may ultimately be the demise of the West.) This judgment is based on a variety of data. For example, European family patterns indicate that Europeans, far more than other groups, have been able to free themselves from clan-based social structure (a form of collectivism) and develop societies with a high level of public trust needed to create modern economies.

Thats perhaps why reading Ayn Rand has been so exciting for so many of us, as emphasized by Gregory Hood in his prize-winning essay. We thrill to the idea of talented, productive, competent people who are able to create their own worlds and are not bound by the petty conventions of society who seem larger than life. It is, as Hood points out, a White World, peopled by heroic Nordics, with an Aryan code of achievement, appreciation of hierarchy, and a robustly defended philosophy of greatness; it is a world where uniquely Western values such as individualism, the rule of law, and limited government are taken for granted.

I confess that when I first read Atlas Shrugged in high school, I was very much taken with it. Readers of her work naturally cast themselves in the role of John Galt or similar Randian super-person. Her characters appeal to our vanity and our natural desire to live free of burdensome constraints and to be completely in charge of our own destiny. I recall when driving across the country shortly after reading it that I took special notice of all the signs of eponymous businesses Johnsons Lumber Co., Hansens Furniture, Marios Pizza, Ford auto- mobiles. All were the creations of individuals with drive and ambition people creating their own worlds.

Its an attractive image, but as an evolutionist I understand that humans must think in terms of the larger picture what Frank Salter terms ethnic genetic interests. And to effectively further our ethnic genetic interests, we must take account of the real world and accept the need for restraints on peoples behavior, as argued above. The good news is that, as Hood notes (see also Tankas essay), the road to a sense of White advocacy and a sense that Whites have interests often begins with Ayn Rand and libertarianism.

The European tendency toward individualism is also associated with moral universalism (as opposed to moral particularlism, famously, Is it good for the Jews?) and science (i.e, inquiry free from in- group/outgroup biases, with each scientist an independent agent unattached to any ingroup). The tendency toward moral particularism is especially important when thinking about Libertarianism. The European tendency toward moral universalism implies a relatively strong commitment to principled morality that is, moral principles that are adhered to independent of cost to self or family. This contrasts with non-European societies where there is a much greater tendency for family and kinship ties to color moral judgments.

This devotion to principled morality is most apparent in the Puritan tradition of American culture likely the result of prolonged evolution in small, exogamous, egalitarian groups in northern Europe. An egregious example is Justice John Paul Stevens who recently vacated the court, allowing President Obama to replace him with Elena Kagan, an undistinguished law school graduate who benefited greatly from Jewish ethnic networking and who is likely to reflect to values of the mainstream left-liberal Jewish community.

Stevens therefore is the ultimate non-ethnic actor, allowing himself to be replaced during a Democratic administration that would be very unlikely to appoint someone like himself. This lack of an ethnic sense is reflected in his writing:

The ideas of liberty and equality have been an irresistible force in motivating leaders like Patrick Henry, Susan B. Anthony, and Abraham Lincoln, schoolteachers like Nathan Hale and Booker T. Washington, the Philippine Scouts who fought at Bataan, and the soldiers who scaled the bluff at Omaha Beach, he wrote in an unusually lyrical dissent [in a 1989 flag burning case]. If those ideas are worth fighting forand our history demonstrates that they areit cannot be true that the flag that uniquely symbolizes their power is not itself worthy of protection.

Ideas are worth fighting for, but Stevens has no interest in advancing the cause of WASPs as an ethnic group. Here he idealizes non-White Filipinos fighting alongside Whites to secure a set of principles. He has no concern that there will be no more WASPs on the court for the foreseeable future, presumably because he thinks that whats important is that certain ideas will continue to guide the country.

The multicultural left should build statues to Stevens and David Souter also appointed by a Republican president and replaced by a non-White [Sonia Sotomayor] in a Democrat administration) as heroes of the hopeful non-White future. Their principled sense that ideas matter and that race and ethnicity are not at all important is exactly how the multicultural left wants all Whites to behave WASPs as the proposition ethnic group heralding America as the proposition nation.

This devotion to universalist ideas is a strong tendency in the liberal WASP subculture that has been such an important strand of American intellectual history. (The exception was during the 1920s when the Protestant elite sided with the rest of America when they led the battle to enact the immigration restriction law of 1924 which drastically restricted immigration and explicitly attempted to achieve an ethnic status quo as of 1890. Even then, there were substantial numbers of WASPs who opposed immigration restriction.)

In the 19th century, this liberal WASP tradition could be seen in their attraction to utopian communities and their strong moral revulsion to slavery that animated the cause of abolition. Ideas matter and are worth fighting for, even if more than 600,000 White people died in the battle Let us die to make men free as the Battle Hymn of the Republic urged. They had the idea that people are able to fashion moral ideals and then bring them into being as a result of political activism, a view that is certainly borne out by contemporary psychology. They were individualists who saw the world not in terms of in-groups and outgroups, but as composed of unique individuals. Their relatively tepid ethnocentrism and their ethnic proneness to moral universalism made them willing allies of the rising class of Jewish intellectuals who came to dominate intellectual discourse beginning at least by the 1930s. Even by the 1920s, the triumph of Boasian anthropology meant that appeals to WASP ethnicity would fall on deaf ears in the academic world.

Libertarianism thus fits well with this tradition. Indeed, Eric Kaufmann labels one of the 19th-century liberal American traditions libertarian anarchism, typified by Benjamin Tucker, publisher Liberty, a journal devoted to unfettered individualism and opposed to prohibitions on non-invasive behavior (free love, etc.). Moreover, as noted above, libertarianism is nothing if not strongly principled. Indeed, libertarianism is addicted to its fundamental principles of individual freedom no matter what practical costs may result to self, to others or to the society as a whole. The sign of principled behavior is that other interests, prototypically self-interest (paradoxically enough in the case of libertarianism), are irrelevant, and that is certainly the case with libertarianism.

IS LIBERTARIANISM A JEWISH INTELLECTUAL MOVEMENT? Finally, we must ask, Is it good for the Jews? Simon Lote notes that libertarians tend to be cosmopolitan White males [who] are led by a smaller but more eminent group of Jews who are attracted to the political philosophy for entirely different reasons. Jews are attracted to libertarianism because

[the] cosmopolitan universalism at [the core of libertarianism] is a mighty ideological weapon to weaken White identity and loyalty and so ensures that Jewish interests are better preserved and advanced. After all, if one regards property rights as sacred, the idea of breaking the Jewish stranglehold over the media by government anti-trust legislation would be considered abhorrent. Libertarians also tend to be in favor of massive non-White immigration which is also favored by Jews as an ethnic strategy aimed at lessening the political and cultural influence of Whites.

Indeed, Trudie Pert begins her essay with the following quote from The Culture of Critique:

Jews benefit from open, individualistic societies in which barriers to upward mobility are removed, in which people are viewed as individuals rather than as members of groups, and in which intellectual discourse is not prescribed by institutions like the Catholic Church that are not dominated by Jews.

Libertarianism was not reviewed as a Jewish intellectual movement of The Culture of Critique, although the discussion of the Frankfurt School as a Jewish movement in Chapter 5 emphasizes that it pathologized the group commitments of non-Jews while nevertheless failing to provide a similar critique of Jewish group commitment. It noted that

a common component of anti-Semitism among academics during the Weimar period [in Germany] was a perception that Jews attempted to undermine patriotic commitment and social cohesion of society. Indeed, the perception that Jewish critical analysis of non-Jewish society was aimed at dissolving the bonds of cohesiveness within the society was common among educated non-Jewish Germans, including university professors . One academic referred to the Jews as the classic party of national decomposition.

In the event, National Socialism developed as a cohesive non-Jewish group strategy in opposition to Judaism, a strategy that completely rejected the Enlightenment ideal of an atomized society based on individual rights in opposition to the state. As I have argued in [Separation and Its Discontents] (Ch. 5), in this regard National Socialism was very much like Judaism, which has been throughout its history fundamentally a group phenomenon in which the rights of the individual have been submerged in the interests of the group.


The prescription that society adopt a social organization based on radical individualism would indeed be an excellent strategy for the continuation of Judaism as a cohesive, collectivist group strategy. Research on cross-cultural differences in individualism and collectivism indicates that anti-Semitism would be lowest in individualist societies rather than societies that are collectivist and homogeneous apart from Jews. A theme of [A People That Shall Dwell Alone] (Ch. 8) is that European societies (with the notable exceptions of the National Socialist era in Germany and the medieval period of Christian religious hegemonyboth periods of intense anti-Semitism) have been unique among the economically advanced traditional and modern cultures of the world in their commitment to individualism. The presence of Judaism as a highly successful and salient group strategy provokes anti-individualist responses from [non-Jews]. Collectivist cultures [like Judaism] place a much greater emphasis on the goals and needs of the ingroup rather than on individual rights and interests. Collectivist cultures develop an unquestioned attachment to the ingroup, including the perception that ingroup norms are universally valid (a form of ethnocentrism), automatic obedience to ingroup authorities, and willingness to fight and die for the ingroup. These characteristics are usually associated with distrust of and unwillingness to cooperate with outgroups. In collectivist cultures morality is conceptualized as that which benefits the group, and aggression and exploitation of outgroups are acceptable.

People in individualist cultures, in contrast, show little emotional attachment to ingroups. Personal goals are paramount, and socialization emphasizes the importance of self-reliance, independence, individual responsibility, and finding yourself. Individualists have more positive attitudes toward strangers and outgroup members and are more likely to behave in a prosocial, altruistic manner to strangers. Because they are less aware of in-group-outgroup boundaries, people in individualist cultures are less likely to have negative attitudes toward outgroup members. They often disagree with ingroup policy, show little emotional commitment or loyalty to ingroups, and do not have a sense of common fate with other ingroup members. Opposition to outgroups occurs in individualist societies, but the opposition is more rational in the sense that there is less of a tendency to suppose that all of the outgroup members are culpable for the misdeeds of a few. Individualists form mild attachments to many groups, whereas collectivists have an intense attachment and identification to a few ingroups.

The expectation is that individualists will tend to be less predisposed to anti-Semitism and more likely to blame any offensive Jewish behavior as resulting from transgressions by individual Jews rather than stereotypically true of all Jews. However Jews, as members of a collectivist subculture living in an individualistic society, are themselves more likely to view the Jewishnon- Jewish distinction as extremely salient and to develop stereotypically negative views about non-Jews.

Perts article suggests that libertarianism functioned as a Jewish intellectual movement for at least some of its main Jewish proponents. (No one is saying that libertarianism is a Jewish movement to the extent that, say, psychoanalysis was in its early years, when virtually all its practitioners were Jews. For the reasons indicated above, libertarianism is very attractive to Europeans.) In order for a movement to qualify as a Jewish movement, participants must have a Jewish identity and see their work as furthering Jewish interests. Particularly interesting is the animosity shown by Ludwig von Mises toward Christianity and particularly toward the Catholic Church as enemies of freedom. (One might also note Ayn Rands one-sided and impassioned defense of Israel and her denunciations of Arabs as racist murderers of innocent Jews indicate a strong Jewish identity and an unwillingness to condemn Jewish collectivism, either in Israel or in traditional and to a considerable extent in contemporary Diaspora societies. She also remonstrates against the racism of U.S. foreign policy prior to FDR, again suggesting views that are highly characteristic of the Jewish mainstream.)

For the reasons indicated above, there is little doubt that Judaism would benefit from a libertarian social order. In addition to lowering anti- Jewish attitudes, Pert notes that Jews as an well-organized, highly networked elite would be likely to be able to exploit non-Jews economically because non-Jews would not be protected by the state and because non-Jews would not likely be able to form cohesive protective groups in the absence of state involvement. (I have proposed that in the 4th century, voluntary associations centered around the Catholic Church served a protective function against Jewish economic domination, particularly the enslavement of non-Jews by Jews. As expected, this protective society then attempted (and succeeded) in obtaining political power by seizing control of the state.

In other words, these Catholics actively fought against a social order in which there were no safeguards against the exploitation of non-Jews by Jews. (To the extent that it permitted slavery of non-Jews by Jews, the previous social order was libertarian.) The libertarian rationalization of voluntary servitude is particularly noteworthy given the reality of Jewish economic domination in several historical eras.

Kevin MacDonald, The Establishment and Maintenance of Socially Imposed Monogamy in Western Europe. Politics and the Life Sciences 14, 3-23, 1995.

2 J. Philippe Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior (New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction, 1994).

3 M. P. Dunne, N. G. Martin, D. J. Statham, W. S. Slutske, S. H. Dinwiddie, K. K. Bucholz, P. A. F. Madden, and A. C. Heath, Genetic and environmental contributions to variance in age at first sexual intercourse. Psychological Science 8 (211216, 1997).

4 Kevin MacDonald, The Dissolution of the Family among Non-Elite Whites. The Occidental Observer (April 9, 2010). dissolution-of-the-family-among-non-elite-whites/

5 MacDonald, What Makes Western Culture Unique?; Kevin Mac Donald, Eric P. Kaufmanns The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America. The Occidental Observer (July 29, 2009).

6 Frank K. Salter, On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethny and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2006; originally published by Peter Lang [Frankfurt Am Main, 2003]).

7 Kevin MacDonald, Evolution and a Dual Processing Theory of Culture: Applications to Moral Idealism and Political Philosophy. Politics and Culture (2010[Issue 1], April).

8 Kevin MacDonald, Psychology and White Ethnocentrism. The Occidental Quarterly 6(4) (Winter, 200607, 746). J. G. Miller and D. M. Bersoff, Culture and Moral Judgment: How Are Conflicts Between Justice and Interpersonal Responsibilities Resolved? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 62 (541554, 1992).

9 MacDonald, What Makes Western Culture Unique?

10 Jeffrey Toobin, After Stevens: What Will the Supreme Court Be Like without Its Liberal Leader? The New Yorker (March 23, 2010). entPage=all#ixzz0tJXKtDE6

11 Mac Donald, Eric P. Kaufmanns The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America.

12 Kevin MacDonald, American Transcendentalism: An Indigenous Culture of Critique. The Occidental Quarterly 8(2) (Summer 2008, 91106).

13 Kevin MacDonald, Evolution and a Dual Processing Theory of Culture.

14 Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique (Blooomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2002; originally published by Praeger [Westport, CT, 1998]), Chapter 7.

15Ibid., xxix.

16 Harry C. Triandis, Cross-cultural studies of individualism and collectivism. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 1989: Cross Cultural Perspectives (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), 55.


18 Harry C. Triandis. Cross-cultural differences in assertiveness/competition vs. group loyalty/cohesiveness. In Cooperation and Prosocial Behavior (ed. R. A. Hinde & J. Groebel; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 82.

19Ibid. 80.

20 Triandis, Cross-cultural studies of individualism and collectivism, 61.

21 Ayn Rand on Israel and the Middle East. You Tube video of a public inter- view from 1979.

22 Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism. (Bloomington, IN: 1stbooks Library, 2004; first published by Praeger [Westport, CT, 1998]), Chapter 3.

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Patients Rights Council

 Euthanasia  Comments Off on Patients Rights Council
Jun 172016

SUPPORT THE PATIENTS RIGHTS COUNCILLatest additions to web site: 6/7/16.. Site Map ..

Death Doctor to Charge $2000 for Suicide Prescription(National Review June 5, 2016)Lonnny Shavelson is or was a part time emergency room physician and photo journalist. Now, hes going to be a death doctor for pay. [H]e once witnessed what can only be described as a murder of a disabled man by a Hemlock Society suicide assister and did nothing about it as he reported beginning at page 92 of his book. More on California.

Scroll down for more of the latest developments and featured articles ..List of states where bills have been proposed this year: 2016 Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bills Proposed

In addition to bills that had been pending in New Jersey, doctor-prescribed suicide bills were proposed in 2015 in more than twenty states. For a listing of those bills, see 2015 Doctor-Prescribed Bills Proposed. For all doctor-prescribed suicide bills that have been proposed since 1994, see Attempts to Legalize. ..

Scroll down for other Recent Developments, and for Featured Articles. For additional information, see Site Map.

The Latest PRC Update (2016 Volume 30, No. 2,):

Who will speak for you? Imagine you are in an accident tomorrow and so seriously injured that you arent able to communicate about your health care wishes for several weeks. Who would make health care decisions for you during that time? Do you need an advance directive?

To obtain a durable power of attorney for health care for the state in which you are a resident, call the Patients Rights Council (800-958-5678 or 740-282-3810) between 8:30am and 4:30pm (eastern time). .

Recent Major Developments

Brain scans reveal hidden consciousness in patients(AP Central Ohio, The Source May 26, 2016) A standard brain scanning technique is showing promise for helping doctors distinguish between patients in a vegetative state and those with hidden signs of consciousness.The researchers checked the patient status again a year later. They found that 8 of the 11 vegetative patients who had scored above the cutoff, which had been associated with minimal consciousness, had in fact recovered consciousness.

Savinos end-of-life bills: Cruel choices, deadly mischief(Staten Island Advance May 16, 2016) The latest proposed doctor-prescribed suicide legislation is titled the Medical Aid in Dying Act. More on New York and text of proposed bill [Note: As with SB 3685, one of New Yorks previous bills, this latest bill (A10059) would not require that a person be a resident of New York to qualify for doctor-prescribed suicide. Therefore, if passed, New York could easily become a national suicide destination.]

Cancer breakthrough: Duke clinical trial destroys SC womans brain tumor(WNCN television CBS May 16, 2016) The FDA is calling a clinical trial that killed a cancerous brain tumor (Stage 4 Glioblastoma) a medical breakthrough. Stephanie Lipscomb, now a nurse has now been cancer free for 4 years and considers herself cured. Dozens of patients responded positively to the trial and because of the success with Stephanie, the FDA has deemed the trial a medical breakthrough. [Note: This was the same type of cancer that Brittany Maynard had.]

UNICEF Canada lobbies lawmakers to make physician-assisted dying (which includes doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia by lethal injection) available to children.In its May 11, 2016 brief, UNICEF states,In our view, this would be consistent with a cautious and balanced child rights-based approach to the question of medically-assisted death, having regard to the lessons learned in the Netherlands and Belgium. It further notes that in 2014, Belgium amended its legislation and became the first country in the world to remove any age restrictions on physician-assisted death. More on Canada

Netherlands sees sharp increase in people choosing euthanasia due to mental health problems'(Telegraph May 11, 2016) The Netherlands has seen a sharp increase in the number of people choosing to end their own lives due to mental health problems such as trauma caused by sexual abuse. Whereas just two people had themselves euthanised in the country in 2010 due to insufferable mental illness, 56 people did so last year, a trend which sparked concern among ethicists. More on Holland Assisted Suicide MDs Would Never be Convicted of Fraud(National Review May 9, 2016) The Justice Department has convicted two doctors for falsely diagnosing patients as terminal to qualify for hospice care.The motive there was clearly money. But this same kind of false terminal diagnosis could also happen with assisted suicide as a matter of ideologyIt already has. More on Terminal Illness

Medical errors may kill 250,000 a year, but problem not being tracked(Modern Healthcare May 4, 2016) A study published in the BMJ found that medical mistakes in the U.S. trailed heart disease and cancer. More on Medical Errors

Chambers promises to keep pushing for aid-in-dying law (Brown County Democrat April 4, 2016) Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha filed a motion Monday to pull his aid-in-dying bill out of a legislative committee where it remains stuck. The motion won only nine of the needed 25 votes to bring the bill to the floor for debate. More on Nebraska

Remove organs from euthanasia patients while theyre still ALIVE’ (Daily Mail March 31, 2016) Those who want to be killed should be sedated in hospital then allowed to die after the removal of their vital organs, according to the proposal published by a British-based medical ethics journal. Using organs for transplant surgery from patients who have been helped to die is allowed in Belgium and Holland.[A]n article in the Journal of Medical Ethics yesterday advocated heart-beating organ donation euthanasia. This would involve an operation in which organs would be taken from still-living patients who have given permission. More on Organ Donation and Organ Transplant

Oregon releases its 2016 death with dignity stats(BioEdge February 20, 2016) Oregon is the model for assisted suicide legislation throughout the United States, so its annual Death with Dignity report for 2015 deserves close scrutiny.For about 80% of the 132 deaths there is no information on how long it took or whether there were difficulties. More on Oregon

Featured Articles Hospital(Townhall April 21, 2016) I get excellent medical care here. But as a consumer reporter, I have to say, the hospitals customer service stinks.Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialistic bureaucracies. Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies. More on government Health Care Reform

Are You a Hospital Inpatient or Outpatient? If you have Medicare Ask!( Did you know that even if you stay in a hospital overnight, you might still be considered an outpatient? Your hospital status affects how much you pay for hospital services and may also affect whether Medicare will cover care you get in a skilled nursing facility following your hospital stay. More on Medicare

Weak Oversight Lets Dangerous Nurses Work in New York(ProPublica April 7, 2016) New York lags behind other states in vetting nurses and moving to discipline those who are incompetent or commit crimes. Often, even those disciplined by other states or New York agencies hold clear licenses. More on New York More on Nurses

Assisted suicide: An idea that loses appeal as it becomes tangible (Star Tribune March 15, 2016) SF 1880 is sponsored by a group of DFL legislators, led by Sen. Chris Eaton of Brooklyn Center, who claims that assisted suicide enjoys overwhelming support from the American public. This is overconfidence. The truth about assisted suicide is that it 1) takes time to understand and that it 2) turns political stereotypes on their head But then something remarkable happened. The people of Massachusetts began to understand the issue. More on Minnesota

Dutch documentary awakens euthanasia debate about wider rules (Dutch News February 29, 2016) A recent Dutch television documentary on euthanasia in which a 68 year-old woman suffering from semantic dementia was given a lethal injection may well herald a turning point in what many consider to be an increasingly broader and unacceptable interpretation of the rules. More on Holland

Where the prescription for autism can be death (Washington Post February 24, 2016) Thus did a man in his 30s whose only diagnosis was autism become one of 110 people to be euthanized for mental disorders in the Netherlands between 2011 and 2014. Thats the rough equivalent of 2,000 people in the United States. More on Holland

Teen Survived Kalamazoo Shooting after Being Pronounced Brain Dead(ABC7 February 23, 2016) The hospital was in the process of preparing her organs for donation when the girl squeezed her mothers hand. More on Organ Donation

Elder Guardianship: A Shameful Racket'(Diane Dimond February 20, 2016) Betty Winstanley is a well-spoken, elegant and wealthy 94-year-old widow. And as she told me from her room at the Masonic Village retirement facility Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, I feel like I am in prison. My life is a living hell. Welcome to Americas twisted world of court-appointed guardians for the elderly.

Assisted Suicide Study Questions Its Use for Mentally Ill (New York Times February 10, 2016) [I]n more than half of the approved cases, people declined treatment that could have helped, and many cited loneliness as an important reason for wanting to die. People who got assistance to die often sought help from doctors they had not seen before, and many used what the study called a mobile end-of-life clinic a nurse and a doctor, funded by a local euthanasia advocacy organization. More on Holland

RNs and CNAs Work Fewer Hours in Nursing Facilities that Serve Predominately Ethnic and Racial Minorities(Center for Medicare Advocacy January 27, 2016) A December 2015 Health Affairs study of freestanding Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) found that registered nurses (RNs) were less likely to work at nursing homes with high concentrations of racial and ethnic minorities.Racial and ethnic minority nursing home residents have not been receiving the same quality of skilled care as white patients and the consequences of this disparity have been significant. More on Medicare More on Minorities and the Poor

A bit of irony or tragedy in Canada?(January 2016) Although Canadas new health minister has acknowledged that there is evidence that only 15 percent of Canadians have access to high quality pain control, parliament has been told that special traveling teams should be available to deliver physician-assisted death to the countrys remote regions to guarantee that patients can have their lives ended.

The sole survivor: Fort Lee woman beats the deadliest form of brain cancer( December 13, 2015) Nearly a decade after learning she had only three months to live, Sandy Hillburn grabbed a taxi last Sunday to LaGuardia Airport for one of her regular business trips to North Carolina.

The vulnerable will be the victims(USA Today October 20, 2015) California required legislative sleight of hand to pass physician-assisted suicide in a special legislative session that bypassed committee votesOregon reports that pain doesnt even make the top five reasons people seek doctor-assisted suicide. Instead, people are afraid of losing autonomy and dignity. Notably, theyre afraid of becoming a burden on others. In the face of a youth-worshipping country that marginalizes the sick and dying, we should resist making the vulnerable feel like a burden not make it easier for them to kill themselves. Dignity doesnt come from the illusion of power and control, but from mutual dependence and love. More on California

Suicide by any other name(USA Today October 13, 2015) Right to die proponents take advantage of human vulnerability, obfuscate reality of assisted suicideBut verbal cloaking is the stock in trade of the right-to-die forces. The Orwellian-speak they employ to describe their effort is telling. It is death by euphemism. More on Verbal Engineering

Oregon claim of assisted suicide safeguards has critics(CalWatch October 9, 2015) A key argument spurring Gov. Jerry Browns recent decision to sign a bill allowing physician-assisted suicide in California, and the Legislatures desire to enact such a law, was that a similar law had worked well in OregonBut what was rarely acknowledged in the California media is that the Oregon law while wining positive notices from that states media has a solid core of skeptics who complained of skewed or inadequate data backing up assertions that the safeguards work. More on California More on Oregon

Governor should have talked to Holland before signing bill(Press Democrat October 7, 2015) By: Theo Boer, Professor of Health Care Ethics at Kampen University in The Netherlands. In 1994, the Dutch were the first in the world to officially legalize assisted dyingI was convinced that legalizing assisted dying was the wisest and most respectful routeHearing of Browns decision, and without doubt any of his good intentions, my thoughts go back to our own pioneering years. As I said, we have been naive. More on The Netherlands More on California

A Doctor-Assisted Disaster for Medicine(Wall Street Journal August 17, 2015) As a professor of family medicine at Oregons Health & Science University in Portland, as well as a licensed physician for 35 years, I have seen firsthand how the law has changed the relationship between doctors and patients, some of whom now fear that they are being steered toward assisted suicide. More on Oregon

Previously Featured ArticlesAlso see site map to access specific topics which include previously featured articles.

Have you heard about VSED? It stands for voluntarily stopping eating and drinking. VSED is being promoted by assisted-suicide activists who are also working to force health care providers to participate in it. Important Questions & Answers about VSED

From the bookshelfTwenty-four years ago, Ann Humphry, the co-founder of the Hemlock Society (now called Compassion and Choices) committed suicide. Her death made headlines worldwide.

Prior to her death, Ann contacted Rita Marker, a staunch euthanasia opponent. Over time, the two became close friends, and Ann asked Rita to make public secrets about the right-to-die movement secrets that had weighed heavily on Ann.

Two years after Anns tragic death, the book, Deadly Compassion: The Death of Ann Humphry and the Truth About Euthanasia was published. It recounts Anns personal story, the founding of the Hemlock Society, and activities of euthanasia and doctor-prescribed suicide advocates. Thousands of copies of the book were sold in the United States, England, Canada and Australia. (Read excerpts from reviews of the book.)

Now, for the first time, you can read Deadly Compassion in its entirety on line in PDF format.

Go here to read the rest:

Patients Rights Council

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Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Wisconsin Overall Freedom …

 Victimless Crimes  Comments Off on Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Wisconsin Overall Freedom …
Jun 172016


Wisconsin has slipped slightly since the last edition of the index and is now just outside the bottom 10. However, this is one state that may already be improving due to legislative changes since the data cutoff for this study. For example, Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature have agreed to budget cuts in education and other areas, while passing Act 10which aims to limit the bargaining power of public employee unions (though it is unclear whether this law will survive legal challenges). A study by the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute for Public Policy argues that Act 10 has already saved taxpayers $2 billion.1 Therefore, Wisconsins rank is likely to improve in the next edition of Freedom in the 50 States.

Wisconsin ranks near the bottom in economic freedom, due primarily to its poor fiscal policy. Wisconsins overall tax burden is very high, as are individual income and property taxes. State spending and debt are roughly average. However, its benefit payments are quite high, as is its level of transportation spending. Moreover, Wisconsin government employment is quite large relative to the private workforce.

Wisconsin fares a lot better in regulatory policy, ranking 15th. It is slightly worse than average in terms of land-use regulation but has passed some eminent domain reforms. Wisconsins labor market freedom, occupational freedom, health insurance freedom, and liability system are mediocre. It is not (yet) a right-to-work state, but has avoided mandating a minimum wage above the federal average or requiring employers to buy short-term disability insurance. Wisconsin does not have community rating (though there are small-group rate bands) or rate reviews. Wisconsin has also deregulated cable and telecom. It does quite well in terms of insurance rate filing requirements. However, it is almost a standard deviation worse than the mean on occupational licensing.

Wisconsin performs below average in a number of personal freedom categories. The state has high victimless crimes arrest rates, though its drug enforcement rate is below average. It has the worst gaming laws in the country (social gambling is not allowed) and almost the strictest campaign finance laws. The state also performs below average on gun freedom and travel freedom. Home schools are regulated with some onerous notification requirements. Wisconsin has some of the best alcohol laws in the country, with taxes fairly low across the board. However, its cigarette taxes are very high and smoking bans are extensive. Wisconsin recently enacted a domestic partnership law. Its asset forfeiture laws score well (over one standard deviation better than average).

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Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Wisconsin Overall Freedom …

The Danger and Bounty of the Minerva Reefs

 Minerva Reefs  Comments Off on The Danger and Bounty of the Minerva Reefs
Jun 172016

Story and photos by Scott & Wendy Bannerot.

Few South Pacific voyagers miss a stop at the Kingdom of Tonga. The Vava’u Group attracts the highest number of visiting boats, with deep, protected passageways between a large cluster of picturesque islands, permitting relaxed cruising among lovely, sheltered anchorages. A growing number of boats venture south into the lower-lying, coral-strewn Ha’apai Group, and a steady annual proportion sail onward to the country’s southernmost main island of Tongatapu for a stop at the capital town of Nuku’alofa. There they provision and procure New Zealand visas from the consulate before heading south to escape the November onset of cyclone season. By this time nearly all have heard of North and South Minerva Reefs, two rings of nearly submerged coral lying some 270 nautical miles southwest of Tongatapu, somewhat to the west of the rhumb line to New Zealand.

This position, and the existence of navigable passes into the protected inner lagoons of both atolls, plays on various portions of a seafarer’s brain. No one wants to hear the roar of breakers dead ahead on a dark, stormy night or feel the crunching lurch of your hull piling forcibly onto a solid piece of real estate in mid-ocean. On the other hand, many dream of anchoring alone in tranquil, gin-clear lagoons teeming with sea life for a restful break during a passage, or of riding out a severe storm on the hook, protected from the brunt of the conditions by solid walls of coral. We were no different from anyone else, having made two passages between Tonga and New Zealand without laying eyes on either of the Minervas. By the time our third passage was imminent, we knew a stop was inevitable.

We’d arrived in Tonga’s Vava’u Group again after 18 months in New Zealand, including a four-month return to the U.S. for medical and business issues that could no longer be ignored. During this time our 41-foot aluminum sloop Elan awaited us on an Auckland hardstand. Our first time through Vava’u, nearly two years before, had been late in the winter sailing season. We’d spent only one short week before the looming storm season compelled us to set sail. We knew we hadn’t scratched the surface of what this group of islands had to offer, and our determination to do it justice on the second time around was strong. We’d sailed up the eastern quadrant of a fortuitously stalled high, fanned by southeasterlies coming over the starboard quarter on a direct 10-day shot from Auckland to Neiafu. We cleared customs one hour before my sister, her husband, and her father-in-law arrived at the airport on a long-planned visit from Wyoming. Our spirits soared as we loaded everyone’s gear aboard and made ready to cast off from the fuel dock.

Ambitious plans to visit Fiji and Vanuatu fell by the wayside as two other couples came out to visit, we were adopted by several local families, and we accepted an invitation to participate on a local fishing boat in the annual billfish tournament. Before we knew it, we’d been in Vava’u’s calm embrace for nearly the entire South Pacific winter. We’d had countless wonderful days, exploring Swallow’s and Mariner’s caves, photographing a mother humpback whale and her calf swimming laconically beside Elan, and spending time under and above water with some very special people and marine life. Suddenly the October spring window for the voyage back to New Zealand was upon us.

We fished and dived our way south through the Ha’apai and Nomuka Groups, and arrived in Nuku’alofa after an easy overnight sail. There we consolidated our crew with Kiwi friends Ken Kiddie and Hans Swete, who’d earlier committed to the trip south as a way of gaining their first offshore passage. The four of us plotted and dreamed about a stop at the Minervas over cold beers at Nuku’alofa’s waterfront Billfish Bar, and we kept a sharp eye out for an appropriate weather window.

As if on cue, the progression of strong winter highs passing by to the south of us slowed and settled, and on a sparkling sunny afternoon we picked our way around Atata Island, out the channel through the reef, and set a course for North Minerva Reef.

The mystique of the Minervas Elan’s hull bit into the ocean swell under full genoa and mainsail, close reaching into light south-southeasterly conditions. The trolling lines went out, and the conversation turned quickly to stories about the Minervas-boats that had survived the infamous Queen’s Birthday and lesser storms anchored inside the reefs; shipwrecks and disappearances, either documented or suspected, in the vicinity of the reefs; and reports of abundant fish and lobsters, and of an unspoiled environment little-disturbed by humans.

Capt. H. M. Denham, aboard the H.M.S. Herald, surveyed the reefs in 1854 and named them after the whaling ship Minerva, wrecked on South Minerva after setting out from Sydney in 1829. The captain of the Minerva was not aware of a large, poorly defined area called Nicholson’s shoals added to Pacific charts not long before departure, and was therefore quite surprised when the brig drove up hard on the reef at 0200 on September 9. Most of the 23-man crew, and a dog, made it from the wreck to the inner lagoon aboard two whaleboats, but the drunken whaling master and two crew refused to leave the wreck, despite the fact that it was under siege from heavy breaking seas. They survived the night lashed to the bowsprit of the broken hull, and the entire complement set sail the following day aboard three whaleboats loaded with water caskets and what provisions they could salvage from the wreck. One boat began leaking seriously, prompting one of the two remaining boats to sail off to save themselves. The remaining whaleboat eventually took aboard the entire crew of the sinking boat for a total of 15 men and the dog, leaving only six inches or so of freeboard. The desperate castaways, out of fresh water and food, sighted the island of Vatoa, an outlier of Fiji’s Lau Group, on September 15 and reached the outer reef, making their way ashore after splintering the whaleboat on the coral. Eight of the men remained with the friendly locals, and seven repaired the whaleboat and set sail again only to wreck once more on a Tongan island before eventually making their way home to Sydney. The crew of the boat that hastily abandoned the doomed men was never seen again.

Another famous incident occurred on the maiden voyage of the wooden schooner Strathcona, sailing north soon after completion in Auckland in 1914, only to unexpectedly crash up onto South Minerva Reef on the sixth day of the voyage and break apart. The crew of 13 consolidated materials and constructed a raft to live aboard in the lagoon, and then the captain and three crew sailed the schooner’s launch north to the nearest inhabited island, Ono-i-Lau, Fiji. Meanwhile a rescue vessel from New Zealand found the survivors on the raft at South Minerva, as well as the rescuers returning aboard a Fijian cutter to save their crewmates.

Many other wrecks on the two reefs are mysteries, with hulls and remains noted by passing vessels at various times and no signs of survivors. One such wreck was a largely intact Japanese fishing vessel that appeared in 1960 on South Minerva, the crew apparently taken off safely by the crew of another fishing vessel, whom they were able to contact by radio. This wreck was to play a critical role in what remains one of the most incredible maritime survival tales in recent history.

The tragedy of the Tuaikaepau Tuaikaepau was a 51-foot wooden cutter completed in 1902 at the same Auckland boatyard that later built the Strathcona. On the night of July 7, 1962, she was bound from Nuku’alofa for a refit in New Zealand, booming along close-hauled in boisterous southeasterly conditions. Experienced captain David Fifita commanded the seven-man crew and 10 passengers, mostly amateur boxers looking to make some money in New Zealand. The vessel smashed onto the eastern side of South Minerva Reef at seven knots in the darkness. This started a 14-week odyssey that would see only 12 of the men survive.

The 17 Tongans took refuge in the Japanese fishing boat wreck, constructed an ingenious water-distillation plant, and fed themselves by walking the reef flat to fish and collect seafood. Finally on Saturday, October 7, with three men dead, conditions becoming increasingly desperate, and hopes of rescue long gone, Fifita, his son Sateki, and ship’s carpenter Tevita Uaisele embarked on an epic rescue mission in a small craft crudely fashioned (with no tools) from remains of the two wrecks. David set a course for due north, armed only with a compass, sextant, nautical almanac, and a crude chart engraved on a plank, and no way to measure time accurately. He navigated by sun shots and dead reckoning. By Wednesday they were out of food and water. On Thursday they managed to catch a seabird that landed on the tiller and drank its blood. They bypassed treacherous, reef-encircled Ono-i-Lau and Matuku, and at midnight the following Saturday, in greatly weakened condition, David calculated that it was time to head due west in hopes of reaching much larger Kandavu.

The mountainous profile of the eastern end of Kandavu jutted above the horizon at dawn, confirming David’s emergency navigation skills and filling the severely dehydrated, starving men with hope. They sailed cautiously toward the reef, only to have an oversized breaking swell toss the sturdy wooden craft crashing over the reef, throwing the occupants overboard and capsizing the boat. This left little choice but to attempt a swim against the tide to the tiny outlying island of Nmbia approximately 1.3 nautical miles away. David’s son disappeared two thirds of the way to shore. The two survivors dragged themselves up the beach, quenched their thirst with green coconuts, and hiked to a village to summon help for their crewmates back on South Minerva. After some confusion, word finally reached the Royal New Zealand Air Force station at Suva, and the commander ordered an immediate night flight Monday to drop supplies to the survivors on South Minerva, followed by a rescue via Sunderland flying boat the following morning. The supply flight likely saved the life of at least one of the weakened castaways, though one man had died the previous evening. Olaf Ruhen’s Minerva Reef (Halstead Press, Sydney, 1963) is a worthwhile, highly detailed account of the entire ordeal, and voyagers can pick up the brief recent account Minerva Reef by survivor Fine Feuiaki in Tongan bookstores (Friendly Islands Bookshop, Tonga, 1992). Overnight at North Minerva Thoughts of the imperiled voyagers before us prevailed as light, fluky winds had us motorsailing for parts of the second and third days of the passage. By the third evening the southeasterly breeze stiffened. We made good time under double-reefed genoa and mainsail, and at first light sighted the white line of breakers along the north side of North Minerva that had been painting a radar target during the pre-dawn hours. Soon after, the left outrigger bait disappeared in a splashing strike, and Ken worked a 22-pound bull mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus, also called dolphin or dorado) to the gaff. We made our way into the wide, easy pass in the northwest corner of the submerged atoll at 0900 in good light and dropped the anchor 20 feet down to the deep fine sand. Soon the dinghy was in the water and we all piled in for a free-diving expedition to a series of nearby coral heads.

We already had plenty of fish, so we did some sightseeing and looked around for lobsters under ledges and domes of coral. The area teemed with fish, flourishing with the near total absence of hook and line or other fishing effort. We spotted only two lobsters, both far under the coral and inaccessible, before heading out the pass for a dive on the outside reef. Here the visibility was nearly limitless, the coral vibrant and dense. An occasional small gray reef shark wagged lazily by the steep drop-off below us, none bothering to investigate the newcomers.

As we motored back in the pass, taking advantage of the countercurrent along the margin of the now outgoing tide, we noticed Elan’s mast swinging irregularly. Despite being inside the lagoon, the vessel was rolling. The shield of coral rubble on the reef crest was mostly submerged at this nearly high-tide stage, offering less opposition to wind-driven waves piling across the reef flat. The formerly placid lagoon now had a distinctly lumpy surface-plenty tenable, just not as comfortable.

We dined on fresh-grilled mahi mahi and turned in early, awakening to a thin overcast, slick calm morning. We decided to stow the dinghy, rig up some fishing lines, and make a slow, fuel-saving motorsail the 20-odd miles to South Minerva Reef. Hans bagged a school-sized yellowfin tuna, and we all enjoyed the sight of a small (150 pounds) blue marlin crashing the left outrigger bait, missing, then playfully grabbing a small tuna lure before leaping in a graceful arc to freedom. Exploring South Minerva A pack of hungry wahoo attacked our lures just off the northwest corner of South Minerva Reef. Their razor-sharp teeth luckily missed the monofilament leaders of our tuna/billfish lures before taking off, but not before one rocketed vertically, high above the deck with our hookless teaser clamped fleetingly in its jaws. We entered the pass, which was less distinct than North Minerva, but no problem if one follows the well-defined southwestern (right-hand) margin into the lagoon, avoiding the easily sighted coral heads as they crop up from time to time inside the lagoon. We picked our way around the inner rim of the lagoon, anchoring near a large, block-like aggregation of coral on the eastern side. This turned out to be the work of an Australian survey team. The location was not far from the site of the long-gone Japanese wreck used by the Tuaikaepau crew, and some boat remains were strewn in the area. We drank in the desolate seascape, barely punctuated by a jagged rim of reef. The muted hiss of breaking seas was the only sound as we tried to imagine being shipwrecked here for 14 weeks, surviving by foraging and by consuming tightly rationed portions of water, distilled with great daily effort, bearing the sorrow of watching crewmates slowly die, and somehow building a boat capable of a substantial bluewater passage-with no tools. Firing up the grill and the music system returned us to the present, and soon the aroma of sizzling marinated tuna steaks dominated our thoughts. We suspended the tuna carcass into the water from a rope tied to the port transom cleat and retired below for the meal-we’d done the same thing the night before with the mahi mahi carcass and found the rope cleanly severed in the morning. Just as we finished dinner, a loud splash accompanying a sudden lurch of the boat sent us all topside in time to see several gray reef sharks circling hungrily. We didn’t need the bright arch light to see the dark silhouettes against the light sand bottom in the bright reflected light of the full moon, gracefully gliding in ever-tighter circles, then swimming off, only to wheel around and swim straight back in. We fed them the carcass after taking a few photos. Two solid days of non-stop reef walking, free-diving, dinghy fishing, and lobster hunting proved South Minerva to be every bit as bountiful and spectacular as we’d dreamed. We caught three different species of spiny lobsters during daylight hours hiding in shallow lagoon coral heads, at least two of which characteristically spend their days at significant depths on the outer reef at most tropical Pacific locations. Normally these are caught only at night by walking the reef flat on certain moon phases. Giant clams (Tridacna), increasingly scarce in most Indo-Pacific locations due to overexploitation, were abundant, as were innumerable other reef denizens of every description-brilliant blue starfish; colorful tropical fish species and moray eels; sea urchins and sea cucumbers; rich and brilliantly hued corals; big fat groupers or coral trout (Variola louti) arrogantly patrolling the pass. This was a chance to enjoy the natural South Pacific in all of its splendor, virtually unaltered by the strains humans exert on the planet. It was a good thing Ken and Hans were along, with the pressures of land jobs and responsibilities never far from mind. Otherwise our euphoria might have sorely tempted us to delay a prudently timed voyage southward. This trip should be made before tropical lows begin abutting to subtropical highs, spawning the hurricane-force easterlies not uncommon in later November and December in the vicinity of New Zealand’s North Island. So, at noon on the third day after arriving, we exited the pass in calm, sunny weather, with the weatherfax showing favorable timing for a jaunt south, with the exception of one mild low developing in the Tasman Sea. We paused outside the pass long enough to do some deep-dropping with an electric fishing reel, catching a couple of delicious groupers from as deep as 750 feet. The low gave us light northerlies and was not showing signs of deepening, so we finished securing the deck and set sail for New Zealand at 1700. Heading south We’d had two fast, uneventful previous passages between Tonga and New Zealand but were no less mindful of the possibility of experiencing heavy conditions. The moon loomed huge and orange out of the sea off the port quarter on the first night, making the ocean surface glimmer. We caught a cow mahi mahi of about 13 pounds the next afternoon and entered the scattered deluges and shifting wind directions of the still-weak low the following afternoon. The center of the low passed below us before sunset, and we’d never seen more than 22 knots of wind. Favorable winds from light to not more than 25 knots settled in for the remainder of the passage. We fished two billfish lures during daylight hours and caught and released both a rare shortbill spearfish and a striped marlin on successive days. Two days north of our destination a pod of (mammal) dolphin came alongside, immediately followed by a modest-sized marlin blasting onto the teaser and a big strike on the right outrigger lure, which turned out to be a 70-pound-class yellowfin tuna. With that we retired the fishing rods and concentrated on making maximum speed over the last 250 nautical miles to Opua, rather than hover in what might be fairly termed the “screw-up zone” for this particular passage. Many crews tend to relax a little early, knowing they’ve nearly made it, only to get a pasting when the bottom drops out of a low as it passes over warm ocean currents just above the North Island.

We sailed into Opua exactly seven days after departing South Minerva Reef on a beautiful and sunny, though distinctly cool, late afternoon and retired to the quiet of the Kawakawa River anchorage after check-in.

Bright smiles lit the aft settee over hot soup and rum as we celebrated our good fortune, and the rarified afterglow of visiting a place as magnificent and remote as the Minerva Reefs.

Scott and Wendy Bannerot, based in New Zealand as they voyage the South Pacific, are the authors of The Cruiser’s Guide to Fishing, recently published by International Marine in Rockport, Maine.

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The Danger and Bounty of the Minerva Reefs

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Utopia (book) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jun 172016

Utopia (Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia) is a work of fiction and political philosophy by Thomas More (14781535) published in 1516 in Latin. The book is a frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs. Many aspects of More’s description of Utopia are reminiscent of life in monasteries.[1]

The title De optimo rei publicae deque nova insula Utopia literally translates, “Of a republic’s best state and of the new island Utopia”. It is variously rendered On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia, Concerning the Highest State of the Republic and the New Island Utopia, On the Best State of a Commonwealth and on the New Island of Utopia, Concerning the Best Condition of the Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia, On the Best Kind of a Republic and About the New Island of Utopia, About the Best State of a Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia, etc. The original name was even longer: Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia. This translates, “A truly golden little book, no less beneficial than entertaining, of a republic’s best state and of the new island Utopia”.

“Utopia” is derived from the Greek prefix “ou-“(ou), meaning “not”, and topos (), “place”, with the suffix -i (-) that is typical of toponyms; hence the name literally means “nowhere”, emphasizing its fictionality. In early modern English, Utopia was spelled “Utopie”, which is today rendered Utopy in some editions.[2]

A common misunderstanding has that “Utopia” is derived from eu- (e), “good”, and “topos”, such that it would literally translate as “good place”.[3]

In English, Utopia is pronounced exactly as Eutopia (the latter word, in Greek [Eutopi], meaning good place, contains the prefix – [eu-], “good”, with which the of Utopia has come to be confused in the French and English pronunciation).[4] This is something that More himself addresses in an addendum to his book Wherfore not Utopie, but rather rightely my name is Eutopie, a place of felicitie.[5]

One interpretation holds that this suggests that while Utopia might be some sort of perfected society, it is ultimately unreachable (see below).

The work begins with written correspondence between Thomas More and several people he had met on the continent: Peter Gilles, town clerk of Antwerp, and Hieronymus van Busleyden, counselor to Charles V. More chose these letters, which are communications between actual people, to further the plausibility of his fictional land. In the same spirit, these letters also include a specimen of the Utopian alphabet and its poetry. The letters also explain the lack of widespread travel to Utopia; during the first mention of the land, someone had coughed during announcement of the exact longitude and latitude. The first book tells of the traveller Raphael Hythlodaeus, to whom More is introduced in Antwerp, and it also explores the subject of how best to counsel a prince, a popular topic at the time.

The first discussions with Raphael allow him to discuss some of the modern ills affecting Europe such as the tendency of kings to start wars and the subsequent loss of money on fruitless endeavours. He also criticises the use of execution to punish theft, saying thieves might as well murder whom they rob, to remove witnesses, if the punishment is going to be the same. He lays most of the problems of theft on the practice of enclosurethe enclosing of common landand the subsequent poverty and starvation of people who are denied access to land because of sheep farming.

More tries to convince Raphael that he could find a good job in a royal court, advising monarchs, but Raphael says that his views are too radical and wouldn’t be listened to. Raphael sees himself in the tradition of Plato: he knows that for good governance, kings must act philosophically. However, he points out that:

More seems to contemplate the duty of philosophers to work around and in real situations and, for the sake of political expediency, work within flawed systems to make them better, rather than hoping to start again from first principles.

Utopia is placed in the New World and More links Raphael’s travels in with Amerigo Vespucci’s real life voyages of discovery. He suggests that Raphael is one of the 24 men Vespucci, in his Four Voyages of 1507, says he left for six months at Cabo Frio, Brazil. Raphael then travels further and finds the island of Utopia, where he spends five years observing the customs of the natives.

According to More, the island of Utopia is

The island was originally a peninsula but a 15-mile wide channel was dug by the community’s founder King Utopos to separate it from the mainland. The island contains 54 cities. Each city is divided into four equal parts. The capital city, Amaurot, is located directly in the middle of the crescent island.

Each city has 6000 households, consisting of between 10 and 16 adults. Thirty households are grouped together and elect a Syphograntus (whom More says is now called a phylarchus). Every ten Syphogranti have an elected Traniborus (more recently called a protophylarchus) ruling over them. The 200 Syphogranti of a city elect a Prince in a secret ballot. The Prince stays for life unless he is deposed or removed for suspicion of tyranny.

People are re-distributed around the households and towns to keep numbers even. If the island suffers from overpopulation, colonies are set up on the mainland. Alternatively, the natives of the mainland are invited to be part of these Utopian colonies, but if they dislike it and no longer wish to stay they may return. In the case of underpopulation the colonists are re-called.

There is no private property on Utopia, with goods being stored in warehouses and people requesting what they need. There are also no locks on the doors of the houses, which are rotated between the citizens every ten years. Agriculture is the most important job on the island. Every person is taught it and must live in the countryside, farming for two years at a time, with women doing the same work as men. Parallel to this, every citizen must learn at least one of the other essential trades: weaving (mainly done by the women), carpentry, metalsmithing and masonry. There is deliberate simplicity about these trades; for instance, all people wear the same types of simple clothes and there are no dressmakers making fine apparel. All able-bodied citizens must work; thus unemployment is eradicated, and the length of the working day can be minimised: the people only have to work six hours a day (although many willingly work for longer). More does allow scholars in his society to become the ruling officials or priests, people picked during their primary education for their ability to learn. All other citizens are however encouraged to apply themselves to learning in their leisure time.

Slavery is a feature of Utopian life and it is reported that every household has two slaves. The slaves are either from other countries or are the Utopian criminals. These criminals are weighed down with chains made out of gold. The gold is part of the community wealth of the country, and fettering criminals with it or using it for shameful things like chamber pots gives the citizens a healthy dislike of it. It also makes it difficult to steal as it is in plain view. The wealth, though, is of little importance and is only good for buying commodities from foreign nations or bribing these nations to fight each other. Slaves are periodically released for good behaviour. Jewels are worn by children, who finally give them up as they mature.

Other significant innovations of Utopia include: a welfare state with free hospitals, euthanasia permissible by the state, priests being allowed to marry, divorce permitted, premarital sex punished by a lifetime of enforced celibacy and adultery being punished by enslavement. Meals are taken in community dining halls and the job of feeding the population is given to a different household in turn. Although all are fed the same, Raphael explains that the old and the administrators are given the best of the food. Travel on the island is only permitted with an internal passport and any people found without a passport are, on a first occasion, returned in disgrace, but after a second offence they are placed in slavery. In addition, there are no lawyers and the law is made deliberately simple, as all should understand it and not leave people in any doubt of what is right and wrong.

There are several religions on the island: moon-worshipers, sun-worshipers, planet-worshipers, ancestor-worshipers and monotheists, but each is tolerant of the others. Only atheists are despised (but allowed) in Utopia, as they are seen as representing a danger to the state: since they do not believe in any punishment or reward after this life, they have no reason to share the communistic life of Utopia, and will break the laws for their own gain. They are not banished, but are encouraged to talk out their erroneous beliefs with the priests until they are convinced of their error. Raphael says that through his teachings Christianity was beginning to take hold in Utopia. The toleration of all other religious ideas is enshrined in a universal prayer all the Utopians recite.

Wives are subject to their husbands and husbands are subject to their wives although women are restricted to conducting household tasks for the most part. Only few widowed women become priests. While all are trained in military arts, women confess their sins to their husbands once a month. Gambling, hunting, makeup and astrology are all discouraged in Utopia. The role allocated to women in Utopia might, however, have been seen as being more liberal from a contemporary point of view.

Utopians do not like to engage in war. If they feel countries friendly to them have been wronged, they will send military aid. However they try to capture, rather than kill, enemies. They are upset if they achieve victory through bloodshed. The main purpose of war is to achieve that which, if they had achieved already, they would not have gone to war over.

Privacy is not regarded as freedom in Utopia; taverns, ale-houses and places for private gatherings are non-existent for the effect of keeping all men in full view, so that they are obliged to behave well.

One of the most troublesome questions about Utopia is Thomas More’s reason for writing it.

Most scholars see it as some kind of comment or criticism of contemporary European society, for the evils of More’s day are laid out in Book I and in many ways apparently solved in Book II.[7] Indeed, Utopia has many of the characteristics of satire, and there are many jokes and satirical asides such as how honest people are in Europe, but these are usually contrasted with the simple, uncomplicated society of the Utopians.

Yet, the puzzle is that some of the practices and institutions of the Utopians, such as the ease of divorce, euthanasia and both married priests and female priests, seem to be polar opposites of More’s beliefs and the teachings of the Catholic Church of which he was a devout member. Another often cited apparent contradiction is that of the religious toleration of Utopia contrasted with his persecution of Protestants as Lord Chancellor. Similarly, the criticism of lawyers comes from a writer who, as Lord Chancellor, was arguably the most influential lawyer in England. However, it can be answered that as a pagan society Utopians had the best ethics that could be reached through reason alone, or that More changed from his early life to his later when he was Lord Chancellor.[7]

One highly influential interpretation of Utopia is that of intellectual historian Quentin Skinner.[8] He has argued that More was taking part in the Renaissance humanist debate over true nobility, and that he was writing to prove the perfect commonwealth could not occur with private property. Crucially, his narrator Hythlodaeus embodies the Platonic view that philosophers should not get involved in politics and his character of More has the more pragmatic Ciceronic view; thus the society Hythlodaeus proposes is the ideal More would want, but without communism, which he saw no possibility of occurring, it was wiser to take a more pragmatic view. Utopia is thus More’s ideal, but an unobtainable one, explaining why there are inconsistencies between the ideas in Utopia and More’s practice in the real world.

Quentin Skinner’s interpretation of Utopia is consistent with the speculation that Stephen Greenblatt made in The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. There, Greenblatt argued that More was under the Epicurean influence of Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things and the people that live in Utopia were an example of how pleasure has dictated them as the guiding principle of life.[9] Although Greenblatt acknowledged that More’s insistence on the existence of an afterlife and punishment for people holding contrary views were inconsistent with the essentially materialist view of Epicureanism, Greenblatt contended that it was the minimum conditions for what the pious More would have considered as necessary to live a happy life.[9]

Another complication comes from the Greek meaning of the names of people and places in the work. Apart from Utopia, meaning “Noplace,” several other lands are mentioned: Achora meaning “Nolandia”, Polyleritae meaning “Muchnonsense”, Macarenses meaning “Happiland,” and the river Anydrus meaning “Nowater”. Raphael’s last name, Hythlodaeus means “dispenser of nonsense” surely implying that the whole of the Utopian text is ‘nonsense’. Additionally the Latin rendering of More’s name, Morus, means “fool” in Greek. It is unclear whether More is simply being ironic, an in-joke for those who know Greek, seeing as the place he is talking about does not actually exist or whether there is actually a sense of distancing of Hythlodaeus’ and the More’s (“Morus”) views in the text from his own.

The name Raphael, though, may have been chosen by More to remind his readers of the archangel Raphael who is mentioned in the Book of Tobit (3:17; 5:4, 16; 6:11, 14, 16, 18; also in chs. 7, 8, 9, 11, 12). In that book the angel guides Tobias and later cures his father of his blindness. While Hythlodaeus may suggest his words are not to be trusted, Raphael meaning “God has healed” suggests that Raphael may be opening the eyes of the reader to what is true. The suggestion that More may have agreed with the views of Raphael is given weight by the way he dressed; with “his cloak… hanging carelessly about him”; a style which Roger Ascham reports that More himself was wont to adopt. Furthermore, more recent criticism has questioned the reliability of both Gile’s annotations and the character of “More” in the text itself. Claims that the book only subverts Utopia and Hythlodaeus are possibly oversimplistic.

Utopia was begun while More was an envoy in Flanders in May 1515. More started by writing the introduction and the description of the society which would become the second half of the work and on his return to England he wrote the “dialogue of counsel”, completing the work in 1516. In the same year, it was printed in Leuven under Erasmus’s editorship and after revisions by More it was printed in Basel in November 1518. It was not until 1551, sixteen years after More’s execution, that it was first published in England as an English translation by Ralph Robinson. Gilbert Burnet’s translation of 1684 is probably the most commonly cited version.

The work seems to have been popular, if misunderstood: the introduction of More’s Epigrams of 1518 mentions a man who did not regard More as a good writer.

The word Utopia overtook More’s short work and has been used ever since to describe this kind of imaginary society with many unusual ideas being contemplated. Although he may not have founded the genre of Utopian and dystopian fiction, More certainly popularised it and some of the early works which owe something to Utopia include The City of the Sun by Tommaso Campanella, Description of the Republic of Christianopolis by Johannes Valentinus Andreae, New Atlantis by Francis Bacon and Candide by Voltaire.

The politics of Utopia have been seen as influential to the ideas of Anabaptism and communism.[citation needed] While utopian socialism was used to describe the first concepts of socialism, later Marxist theorists tended to see the ideas as too simplistic and not grounded on realistic principles. The religious message in the work and its uncertain, possibly satiric, tone has also alienated some theorists from the work.

An applied example of More’s utopia can be seen in Vasco de Quiroga’s implemented society in Michoacn, Mexico, which was directly taken and adapted from More’s work.

The opening scene in the movie A Man for all Seasons set in an eatery, before Thomas More appears, Utopia comes up in the conversation. England’s priests and their alleged immorality (Somebody says every 2nd person born is fathered by a priest) is compared to the priests of Utopia.

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Utopia (book) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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